One whiff of Calvin Klein’s Obsession, and I am instantly transported to the early 90’s. It used to be an aroma synonymous with teen angst; the scent of first and unrequited love, the scent of endless tears cried into my pillow (where the smell of his Obsession would sometimes linger for days).
While walking through the grocery store, the scent would occasionally waft my way, bringing his blue eyes instantly to mind, that boy who I met when I was 12 years old while strolling through the mall with friends. I doodled his name thousands of times, then scribbled it out every time he made me cry.
As we grew older, we progressed from talking on the phone to meeting up at the mall, or on the playground, or at friends’ houses. The woodsy smell of his cologne swirling around us as we kissed.
At fifteen, I gave myself to him willingly, knowing he did not love me, but begging him silently to love me the way I loved him. He never did, but sometimes I felt like he was so close to being mine, if only I could try just a little harder, give just a little bit more.
Over the years we lost contact, but the scent always made me think of him, sometimes fondly, sometimes angrily.
Interestingly enough, not only does smell trigger memory but the reverse is also true. Several years ago, when he sent me a message on My Space (before Facebook) saying, Hey stranger, remember me? I swear I could almost smell Obsession.
He and I are friends now and we have put our past behind us. We were young and naive, neither one of us having any idea of how to deal with the adult situation we had put ourselves into at such a young age. We had strong feelings for each other but it was not adult love, it was more like teenage Obsession (pun intended).
Now that he and I are friends, any resentment and anger I had felt when that scent arose has been replaced. I smile when I smell it and I fondly think of that brief but memorable time in my life.