The Scent of Guilt

Comments (2)

I have always hated the smell of potpourri.

My family moved when I was five years old, since the school system near our first house was dreadful. I hadn't yet started kindergarten, since I was born three days after the September 1 cut-off. At the time, I was very into ballet and dance and reading, but I don't remember having any friends. I wasn't sad about leaving anyone behind, but I was terrified of the objects I would be parting with. I didn't want the house itself to feel abandoned or unloved.

We went back to visit the house shortly after settling in to our new home, and the lady who had bought the old place was kind enough to invite us inside to show us what she had done with it. I was bravely trying to fight back a veritable ocean of tears, silently sending apologies to every dust bunny and light fixture and even the creaks in the floor for leaving them behind on such short notice. The woman must have seen my quivering lip; she gave me a pair of ballet slippers stuffed with potpourri as a parting gift. I took them greedily and was somehow assured that the house was in good hands. But even then, I hated the smell of the potpourri.

I still have those ballet slippers, tucked away in a box with my baby books and other various paraphernalia from my early childhood. It wasn't until just now, however, that I realized that perhaps the slippers might be the reason why I so intensely dislike that particular odor. Or maybe it really just is that terrible.

seven

seven

Man, isn't moving for the first time kind of terrible? I actually really like it now, but when we moved from California to Oregon, I hated it so much. I'm pretty sure if I had received potpourri-stuffed ballet slippers, I'd hate potpourri at least a little more than I already do too.

Jenn

Jenn

It's hard for anyone under the age of 60 to like potpourri (which is French, said to be for a Spanish stew, but in reality it literally translates to "rotten pot") but add to it the feeling of abandonment and the trauma from your first big move, it's easy to see how you could hate the stuff even more.