I have read somewhere that “Smells love nostalgia”. And in my own experiences, it’s true. A single whiff of a scent (especially scents we never expected we’ll come across at that time) sends crazy triggers to our brains and suddenly everything is real in our head. I believe that the memory of a scent is more powerful than that of something we can physically see or touch to the point that it has a stronger power to completely transport us to another place and time in our memory. Even memories that we have forgotten whether briefly or a lot longer.
So it was the 6th of April 2014, a Sunday (it’s the first day of the week – everyone else’s Monday). From the second I woke up, I knew I was going to be late so I was busy since then, preparing myself and rushing to the bus. Half way in the bus transit I knew I wouldn’t make it on time for work so I waited to be in a place where I am sure taxis will pass by. When I got there, I got off the bus, waited a couple of minutes then found my cab. I opened the door, sat myself in the back and instructed where to be driven to. I was very worried that I’ll be late that I don’t even recall greeting the driver good morning. Then in the middle of my rush (as if may iba akong mapupuntahan sa loob ng cab!), I suddenly stopped. Literally! Everything stopped. My panic, my thoughts of being late, my worry of another expensive taxi ride – Everything! Then I realized it.
Brief history muna. Living here in UAE, one must learn to adjust or be creative with how to protect one’s nose with the scents around us especially those which I consider which “just isn’t right for anyone!” And one of the inevitable encounters are in cabs.
With that brief history said, back to my story.
I was smelling a familiar scent. In fact, so familiar, I literally wished that there was someway that my smartphone could capture it. It was not one of those just-isn’t-right-scents which I was talking about. It was the smell of lemon-ish and-ish clean car-ish. Then I calmed down realizing that my brain was going sending memory triggers of my cab rides in Philippines. Yes, the cab I was riding basically had the scent of a Philippine taxi interior. It was a scent so familiar that it piled on my feelings of homesickness lately. I found myself actually closing my eyes, feeling relaxed, just blank, and allowing this scent to invade my nostrils.
The cab ride was just about 5 minutes which made me wish it could have been longer. In that 5 minutes, I was able to recall my cab rides going home from somewhere, going to Ayala, going to school, my late night trips – a lot of things I missed. Wishing that I could live that memory right then and there. But I was already infront of my office gate and I remember giving the driver a bigger bill just so he can take more time collecting my change and I can have more time getting lost in the ambrosia of his car.
As soon as I sat in my station and before doing any work, I went online started typing “Manila” and looking at pictures of home. Hoping that my “teleporting” continues while I could still remember that smell.
All the pictures made me a little sad because I know I’m not really there. But of all the pictures, this one made me look a little longer. It hit me right where it should. It’s the Guadalupe area of EDSA. Not too far from that buildings on the right is our Makati home. A place I came to love when I lived in Philippines for 4 years.
You see, I have been having this feeling that I’m meant to be there this time. Like something is calling me back. However, reality keeps whispering to me that it’s not the right time to go home yet. So until then, get ready for these episodes of homesickness. Haaayyy….