The town the I grew up in smelled of the Gulf of Mexico, of warm oranges burst open on sidewalks, of suntan lotion and wet bathing suits and fast food chains. It smelled like steamy wet dirt and car exhaust and old people. It never smelled like home.
The town I went to college in smelled of sulpher water and late night palm trees. It smelled like butane and history and superstition, like sheets of paper torn in half. Like surfboards and cheap alcohol. Almost like home.
I wandered downtown today from the post office on Broadway, carrying in one hand a package from the clever pretty kids written all over in Chinese characters. I had left work a little early with a coworker to catch a ride up to the hill, and the sun was whispering in my ear like a new best friend. (I am seriously one lucky punk to have the coworkers that I have. They're amazing.) My brain, as I moseyed, was elsewhere. I dreamt last night that you were standing behind me fastening my dress while I spoke on the telephone, but when I woke up I couldn't remember who you were. I still can't, and it was this I was thinking of when I stopped walking and focused on the scent of this town. It smells like slightly damp grass and smiles from strangers, like the breeze right before sunset, like a little bit of self-righteousness. It smells like open water and pastries and pink colored cocktails, like the color green.
I took off my jacket during my walk, and officially earned myself my first sunburn of the year. If you need to find me anytime during the next few months, you can follow the smell of coconut and bananas, SPF'd 45.