Monday, July 19, 2010

What is your earliest smell memory?

Mine is of the smell of wood chips baking in the sun.  The wood chips in question lined the playground at my first elementary school, that I attended as a four year old.  This school was in the Haight, where it is seldom sunny, but in my memory the playground always smelled of sun baking into wood, and it's a smell that still makes me feel a little queasy.  I remember sitting on top of the parallel bars, where I felt myself to be (or ought to have been) safely above the throng of playing kids, and where every day a slightly larger and older child named Omsi (could it have been spelled this way? but how else could it be spelled?) would sneak up on me and spit in my ear.  I tried everything I could think of to get her to stop, including telling on her, but the adults I told didn't seem to take the offense all that seriously, maybe because I couldn't really prove it and there was little to show for it.  One day Omsi was on the bars when I got there, and without really thinking about it I ran up and pushed her, as hard as I could, off the bars, and she fell hard and cut her face and bled on the wood chips, and I swear that I could smell the irony tang of her blood too, baking into them in the sun, and I swear I meant it when I said that I was sorry, that it was just an accident. 

No comments: