Thursday, July 19, 2012


I studied and then I headed into the bathroom to take a shower. I reached into the shower, and got the water running. I was about to highstep into the clawfoot tub when I realized that I needed another bar of soap.

When I went through the things at my mother's house last month, I took her soap. Sounds funny, doesn't it? It was a brand I like, but when I buy it for myself, it is generally something I do to treat myself. It's more expensive then the soap I usually buy. She had bought a six bar package of it. Two bars were missing. Impulsively, I took the package with the remaining four bars of soap.

I've been using that soap, and I've been thinking of my mother. Today, when I realized that I needed to grab soap, I stepped back from that tub and reached for the shelf. When I grabbed that package of soap from the bin, I realized that there was one bar left. One.

I stood holding it as the bathroom steamed up. I thought, "Mom bought this soap never dreaming that she would not live to use it up." For some reason, that made me sad. I threw away the plastic wrapping that the six bars of soap came in, but I put the box with the last bar of soap back in the bin. I grabbed a bar of aloe soap, highstepped over the clawfoot tub, and took my shower.

I don't know if I can bring myself to use that last bar of soap. And for the life of me, I don't know why.


Lori said...

I know why, and I probably wouldn't use it either. At least not yet. There will probably come a time when you will let yourself use it. And it will be a bit of a celebration when you do. But if you never do use it, that's okay. There are some things we just shouldn't push ourselves about, and it's okay if we don't understand it for a while; eventually we understand.

Laura Jane said...

oh Deb! I understand. You may never use it, perhaps keep it in a drawer to fragrance your clothes, or towels.

The smells of our early lives never quite leave us. To this day I associate the smell of Camay soap with my Nanna, who has been gone for 17 years.

One day you will overcome your thrifty self and spend a few dimes more on that kind of soap, and lather up more frequently with it in memory of your Mum.

Mary Paddock said...

Last fall Gary and I stopped to admire some German Shepherd-mixed puppies. I held two. The second one smelled like Solomon (my GSD who passed away in 2010). Flash back upon flash back descended. I started to cry and had to beat a hasty retreat to avoid embarrassing myself further. You know the rest of the tale. (Her name is Story). THAT is how powerful scent-memories are.

I couldn't have used it either, Deb.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh, I get it. Chanel #5 makes me think of my Nana. Pears soap makes me think about bathing my kids as babies, as does Baby's Own. Ralph Lauren's Polo hurtles me back to my 20s and all the silly stuff I did. Scent is a powerful thing.

Bob said...

You know never know what will connect us with someone. I think Mom would be pleased that you are hanging onto that soap.

BUSH BABE said...

Oh Deb... this is special. I know your story and I think your Mother would have loved that you cherish this connection so. I always think of my great aunt Elsie when I smell Old English Rose talcum powder. White Linen is my mother's favourite scent. I'm a Olive Body Butter devotee. Scent is indeed a powerful evoker of people, places and emotions.