We were out for a walk tonight, My Beloved and I, when we passed by a house from which the most delicious smells were emanating. Dinner. Dinner done right, as far as I'm concerned. Smells that have people passing by on the sidewalk trying to figure out a way to wrangle an invite means clearly you're doing something right as far as meal prep goes.
My Beloved thought it smelled like some sort of a casserole - a conglomeration of delicious scents indistinguishable from one another lead to his conclusion. And that's exactly what it smelled like to me too.
And so, naturally, my mind drifted back to the 1970s. The time of innocence, safety and casseroles.
You know that scent memory thing that happens when you smell something that takes you back? It's more than just a "hey, I remember that smell" experience. Your body floods with images, feelings, memories and emotions all triggered by that one brief hit of familiar scent.
So I'm walking through the casserole scented air and feeling my childhood.
I stayed outside skating in the backyard for so long that night would fall and my fingers and toes would be numb. I'd come in through the back door and find myself bathed in the warmth of the kitchen's glow while I sat on the stairs to unlace my skates. I'd smell dinner on the stove. I'd watch my Mom busy herself with the last rushed tasks before serving while I took off my coat and mittens. I was warm. Safe. Spent. Happy.
It all rushed through me in an instant. And while I tried to hang onto its sweetness, a sadness crept into my heart.
I don't have a child who will remember coming into the warmth of my kitchen when it's cold outside.
This thought - this reality - makes me unbearably sad. For me, for Thomas, for all the babies who almost were.
I have it to give, and no one to give it to. The simple, tiny pleasures I'm not sure some people are even aware of - they are lost to me. My kitchen still hums with activity, but there's no one to remember any of it. There is no one for whom my cookies hot from the oven will one day be a comforting memory they cling to for a moment's respite from the cruel world.
And...if there is never a child, one day I'll be forgotten too.