The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group.
Cheri: The smell was familiar and touched a deep place in my heart. Why had I been so angry? Why was he? I am sure it was because of the kids, the unpaid bills, life, the usual suspects of marital discord. No one was talking, we were both just sitting there, angry. I didn’t want to be angry, but I wasn’t about to give in. I was right. Let him apologize. I could only assume he was thinking the same thing, which was getting us nowhere fast. As I sulked on the couch waiting for an apology, my mind wandered to an anecdote I had read a few weeks ago. The article asserted that whenever you are angry with the one you love, walk over and sniff them. The thought made me both laugh inside and smile. No way! I wanted nothing to do with him right now, but maybe…
Dorothy: …I was really angry with myself. Why did I ever love HIM? Why not someone else, anyone else. That darn smell. The smell is to blame. My anger was strong and protected me, but then…maybe I could smell him. Just walk over and lean down and smell him. NO, No! I would probably like the way he smelled. NO. STOP. Don’t let the anger go – it is the only thing protecting me – I need to be angry.
But I can’t. It cost me too much. I do love him. He is not my enemy. He is my friend, my lover. Surely we can work on this – yet there are so many things. Can we work together?
Bev: I’ll do it. Had to try it.
I got up, walked over to his chair, and leaned over his head. His arm went up in defense.
“What are you doing?”
I took a sniff. Hair gel mingled with after shave, and something else. What was that? Familiar, yet not. I stood back and looked him in the eye.
Susan: “I remember,” I said in a hushed tone. “I remember when…”
I saw the look in his eyes, the look of distrust. That was the same look that I had seen in the mirror last month, last week, and even this morning. The distrust that came from hopes and dreams that had been shattered, then scattered about as mere trash. All the memories came flooding back as I remembered his words saying he was moving on without me.
MJ: That meant that I would be all alone. He did not like me any more. He didn’t need me. Where do I go from here?
DK: There are times in life when one must love, and still leave. Remember the first, but walk away from the anger. A place deep in my heart told me this was one of those times.
Barry would always be my first love. That smell, or scent would always take me to a memory of better days and love and bright beginnings. But now, it was time to move on. To find other scents, and colors, and experiences.
I walked to the table, signed the divorce papers, and smiled. I looked into Barry’s deep blue eyes one last time.
“I love you,” I said as I walked out the door.
Lorelle: “And good riddance to bad rubbish,” I quoted the old Bugs Bunny cartoon to myself, then cringed. The relationship hadn’t been rubbish. There had been beautiful moments, memories of moments brought back by the scent of hair gel, burnt into darkness by the resentment in his eyes.
In the car, I gave that thought more consideration as I put the key in the ignition. Memories of joy triggered by hair gel? I started to laugh, hard. Gut tearing laughter. Mouth open, guffaws exploding out.
I put my hand over my mouth, then the laughter turned to sobs. Tears for hair gel. Not funny any more. I cried for the angry voices, the missed appointments, the mean things said behind people’s backs – those were the memories I hoped would be washed away with the tears.
The engine revved as I pressed too hard on the gas as the key turned. I had to leave now. It was now or never. Yet it was done. Finished. Time to leave.
It was final. I’d done it. A done deal. Time to get over it and get on with it. But get on with what? I wasn’t sure what I would move onto, but it was time. The act of putting the car into gear and stepping on the gas felt good, in control, confident. A wipe of my eyes cleared my vision. I let my foot off the brake and rolled down the driveway.
I had plenty to move on toward, I assured myself. Let’s start by turning left.