That smell reminds me of…

2 02 2007

…my mother’s comfort.

The stale tobacco and flat beer in working men’s clubs.

Mum was a barmaid. I shared a room with my sister and sometimes mum would come into our room at the end of her evening shift. To tuck us in. Retrieve lost teddy bears. Soothe nightmares away. Her hair and clothes smelled of her work. The working men’s club.

A sweet smell like…I don’t know? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s not the same putrid smell of alcohol you find on a hungover lover’s breath. It has a warmth. A cosy feel to it.

My mother hasn’t hugged me for a long time. And now the smoking ban means that the smell, my childhood smell of comfort is dying.

Walk past an old man’s pub now and the smell just isn’t quite right. I wish I could have bottled it before it disappeared.

Would it smell the same in another country?

If I went to another country where they haven’t banned smoking in public places would the smell still exist? Or did the smell contain something peculiar to our west of Scotland culture?

Did the ship building and steel industry give it an accent? As elusive as the exotic scents in luxurious bottles of perfume?

220 words

Jenny Love

February 2007

a free-writing exercise using the prompt of the title.




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