Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I had a rough morning this morning. I slept lousily last night, so I tried to compensate by giving myself an extra half hour of sleep. Unfortunately, that meant I had to rush to get ready for school, and in my haste, tragedy struck.

Okay, so maybe it wouldn't be tragedy to anyone else, but it was to me. I dropped my favorite bottle of perfume (also the only one I have here in Korea) and it shattered. I was so stunned that I didn't react until later at school, when I kept blinking back tears while having my coffee. Luckily the kids didn't see, or they would have been very concerned.

My whole life, I have always loved the scent of honeysuckle. It brings to my mind images of barefoot summer days as a child, when I used to pretend to cook with flowers, and honeysuckles were always the most priceless item on the menu. I called them truffles because I knew that truffles were exceedingly expensive, even though I had no idea what they were or what they looked like. Honeysuckles remind me of laying on my stomach for hours on our dock, fishing for bluegill with my net while the rich scents of summer wafted about me. Honeysuckles are the happiest scent I know.

Last year, at one of the roughest times of my life, when I had just turned my back on a lifelong dream and faced the possibility of losing one of the most important people in my life, I bought this perfume. I was over-wrought with worry and unable to give way to emotions through tears, for fear that I may never stop crying. So instead, I went out to the mall alone. I walked blindly from store to store, feeling numb and trying not to think. Then I went inside "Bath and Body Works" (one of my favorite stores). They had a new scent out that day: honeysuckle.

It sounds a bit silly, but when I sprayed a little bit of that perfume on my wrist, it brought back a flood of memories of happier times. I'm not usually a fan of perfume, but I had to buy that one. Every time I used it, the smell made me happy. When I packed to leave for Korea, that perfume was one of the top items on the list. I even took it carry-on, just to keep it safe. Every day, I've sprayed just a hint of it on me.

Today, when I broke that special bottle of perfume and realized that I can't replace it, something inside me broke too. It's a stupid, pathetic, materialistic thing to get upset over, but there it is. That perfume meant a lot to me, and now it's gone. The men who read this blog are probably scratching their heads right now, but I'll bet most of the women understand. Sometimes silly little things mean a lot more than big important ones.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"