Almost invisible scents

Ever since I quit smoking cigarettes I’ve become far more attuned to smells than I was before. I thought it was something that would wear off after a while, like the dizziness and poor nights of sleep. But it stuck, and now I’m one of those people who splurges on oils and creams and soaps for their lovely smells alone.

Last night I left India via the Fulbright House in Lutyens’ Delhi. It smelled of dust and smoke, A’s face lotion, and, as I passed down the driveway dragging my suitcases toward the waiting taxi, rajniganda, night-blooming jasmine. A large pink- and white-blossomed tree hangs over the barbed wire–topped walls of the Fulbright compound, and the scent follows you all the way to the road. Intoxicating.

Early this morning, Heathrow smelled of gray, raisin toast, women’s perfume, and disinfectant. And now, in an apartment in Paris, I smell wood, olive oil, wet pavement, and fresh sheets.

Like the smell of home, these scents will probably become undetectable after a few days. But they’re awfully sweet today.

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