Monday, May 16, 2011

Smoldered Memories



Walking into the dimly lit bar that I had agreed to meet a friend, I immediately recognized it.  Inhaled it.  Felt it.  To this day, I cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke.  I detest it.  Not because smoking is bad for you or because cigarettes can kill you, no, my dislike for cigarettes and their smell is purely selfish reasons. Because they remind me of my father.  I remember being maybe 14 or 15 years old and literally flushing newly bought cigarette packs down the toilet.  Or if my father had just lit one up and left it briefly unattended in an ashtray, I would throw it in the sink and turn the faucet on and watched them as they wilted away.  Much to the horror of my dad.  "What are you doing? Mija! I just bought those!"  I remember his anger and how I would just leer at him and tell him it was for his own good.  But then there are other memories as to why I loathe the "Cancer stick"  Memories of when my parents were still together.  How their fighting, the smell of my dad's cigarettes and the scent of tequila permeated our house.  Even long after the fighting was done and they had made up, the smoldering ashes remained.  Lingering.  Dancing their last dance before dying out completely.  Years later, when my father finally left for good, I remember how "clean" our house smelled.  And my mom stopped drinking.   And how I never wanted him to come back because he still smoked and well, it would bring back the smell.  Weird what goes through a naive teenager's head.  Even now, whenever I do see my father, and I greet him hello, I can smell the cigarettes, I can smell the smoke. And I cringe.  From far away, I could hear someone calling my name, "Yvonne? Hellooo?"  I open my eyes and see my friend waving his hand in front of me.  "Where'd you go? You seemed entranced or something..."  Smiling I winked at him, grabbed his hand and led him out the door.

The Red Dress Club -The prompt was to write what comes to mind
from a picture of cigarettes in an ashtray.  This was my my memory.



21 comments:

Jo said...

smell is so poerful- it amazes me how one little whiff of something can take you back! thanks for sharing

Jo said...

*powerful

The Reason You Come said...

The smell of cigarette is strong and just nefarious, and it's worse when it brings back bad memories. It's amazing, though, how a simple smell can alter one's mood.

NC Narrator said...

I loved the line: the smoldering ashes remained. Lingering. Dancing their last dance before dying out completely. Very evocative!

TKW said...

I like how you weave the smoldering ashes of the cigarette into the image of a relationship also going up in smoke. Very effective!

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

I could just 'see' your story in my mind as I read it. And feel the angst that went along with it- especially the pull to get rid of the smell to make it so that there would be no risk of repeating part of your life.
I am one of those people (mostly women) who can literally smell something that is weaved into a strong memory just by thinking about it. Are you?

Anne said...

Strong image of flushing the cigarettes along with all your angry, frustrated emotions down the toilet! Amazing how smells bring back such memories!

Belle said...

Wonderful writing, Yvonne. Smoking has good memories for me. No one smoked in my house when I was growing up! It was my own idea! I was a brat.
You are such a terrific writer. I wish you could find a job using this talent.

Karen said...

Well written. I can relate to this so completely. It's not particularly scientific, but I find many of my friends who smoke had parents who didn't, and vice versa. I was a kid of a smoker, so I'm pretty vehemently against it. I never had the courage until adulthood to really express my feelings about it, though.

Ashley said...

I like how you relayed the memory within another situation you were in. I also particularly liked these lines, "Even long after the fighting was done and they had made up, the smoldering ashes remained. Lingering. Dancing their last dance before dying out completely." Well done!

Jewels said...

There is a reason they say smell is the most powerful sense when recalling memories. I am that way about smells too. Powerful post. Thank you for sharing.

The Adorkable Ditz said...

A very understandable reason why to night like the smell. I don't like it at all because I get literally sick from the smell and once I have puked because the smell was so bad.

Same thing happens with any type of smoke. Once when some stupid person lit the trash can on fire in High school I inhaled a little bit of smoke and I was sick. Sick enough to get the shakes, a head ache and a queasy stomach, but the paramedics wanted me to go to the hospital. I didn't but it is still weird how smoke affects me that much.

http://theadorkableditzmissteps.blogspot.com

Cheryl said...

It is so amazing how a smell can bring us right back to our childhood, isn't it? You described it so well!

Yvonne said...

Everyone - thank you for your comments! I truly believe that the sense of smell is the most potent sense we have. It can triggers a slew of emotions hidden or not. I'm glad you all saw the parallel between my emotions and my dad and the cigarettes. Belle- thank you for the compliment. I believe in my heart of hearts, that that is what I'm meant to do with my life as well. :)

Erin said...

It's amazing how the smell is such a powerful generation of memories.

I used to smoke and I LOVE that clean smell.

le Chef said...

"Even long after the fighting was done and they had made up, the smoldering ashes remained"
That line was so powerful - I loved it!

Yvonne said...

Erin- Good for you on quitting! Thanks for dropping by and hope you come back.

le Chef - Thanks so much!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

This is a really good, evocative piece, Yvonne.
xoRobyn

Yvonne said...

Robyn - thanks! glad you enjoyed it!

Anastasia said...

I wrote about almost the exact same thing. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Yvonne said...

Did you? I'll have to go read it. Thank you!