“You Smell Like A Woman”

Clara Araujo
Clara Araujo

“You smell like a woman,” she said, bending to hug me as I prepared to leave. I forget that my perfume clings to my skin, my porous bleached-out hair, the fur and cashmere of my coat, that other people can smell it even though my nose has grown used to it.

“You smell like a woman,” I thought to myself the whole next day. No one had ever told me that before. Of course I’d been told I smelled good, or that my perfume was nice, and once while I stood at the fragrance counter at Neiman Marcus, an older man came over to say he had admired the way I leaned to inhale the scent I’d sprayed on my wrists. It was so feminine, he said. He was sorry for staring but it was such a beautiful movement he couldn’t help himself from saying something.

You smell like a woman, I thought. You smell like your first night in high heels, like the envelop of a hug from your best friend. You smell like the excitement of prom night, the back seat of a limousine, the thrill of your first kiss.

You smell like champagne and cheap beer and burning vodka, you smell like 2 AM. You smell like falling in love with a stranger on the street, like a quick drink that turns into hours. You smell like a dance floor.

You smell like antique stores full of treasures, like camping, like a fireplace and snow. You smell like staying in bed all day with someone, like their skin and yours, like those endless kisses that you wish would never, ever end. You smell like the end of “Casablanca,” or maybe “Pretty Woman.”

You smell like the moment you meet the person you think might be the One, and you smell like the heartbreak when you realize that’s not true. You smell like spring, and you smell like the look on his face when you shut the door one last time. You smell like money. You smell like being pulled into a corner at a party and being kissed, hungrily and hard. You smell like the first boy who’ll dip his head into your neck and murmur, “You smell so good” into your skin. He’ll never forget it.

You smell like sorrow. You smell like sand.

You smell like the man you’ll marry, even though you haven’t met him yet. You smell like fancy clothes and you smell like Sunday. You smell like the coldest air in January and your car won’t start. You smell like you did when you were a teenager, like sticky lipgloss and cheap perfume. You smell like cigarettes that you and your friends once stood in a circle to smoke.

You smell like letting go.

You smell like your mother, like your grandmother, even like your father. You smell like a movie theatre, like a night at the fair – syrupy sweet, fluorescent. You smell like Easter Sunday. You smell like Christmas morning and you’re a child. You smell like the first time you got drunk. You smell like the first time someone stomped all over your heart. You smell like everyone you’ve ever loved.

You smell like surrender.

You smell like a woman. You smell like the newspaper, like the fog. You smell like a woman in a Hitchcock movie. You smell like laughter. You smell like a day at the beach where the waves lap at your feet. You smell like the skip and bump of a record playing on low. You smell like night. You smell like day. You smell like everything you’ve ever touched. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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