Saturday, September 8, 2012

"The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, longbefore it happens." Rilke

I love the smell of my MAC lipstick. 

I couldn’t tell you what color it is because that little sticker on the bottom has worn off in the years since I purchased it. I couldn’t tell you if other MAC lipsticks smell the same. It’s the only lipstick I own and for the past three years, it’s been there for me in the moments that have called for a bit of color, as my mom would say. Those moments have been not that many, really.

I was putting this lipstick on the other day while driving my VW wagon with two carseats, a toddler, a newborn, and a first aid kit into the parking garage under the collection part of the mall in our town.Because my first trip to the mall with two boys called for a bit of color. And we’d be entering through Nordstrom’s. Color. 

That is when it struck me that I love the smell of it.

It strikes me that the smells of things remind me of times.

There was a time I wore this lipstick more often, probably almost daily.  

That was when I worked full time in the city. When my husband and I went to Red Sox games and stayed at B&Bs. When we ate lunch on outdoor patios and I wore suits and bought lipstick. It was a time before graduate school. Before we were married ten years. After we were married five years. After we bought our condo. After the start up he worked for was purchased by a bigger company. After we bought a new car with the sale of his options. Before I sunk that car in a lake.

The car that sunk. I can’t smell leather without thinking of the seats.

I wore the lipstick during the time before the birth of my first son.  

I sunk the car after I learned to breastfeed.


Before someone I love went to rehab. After someone I love went to rehab. After I went off the pill. Before I thoughtI was infertile. Or that my husband was. After I thought I should go to rehab. Before I set up auto deduction for our cable bill.  Before we bought a house. Before the bag embroidered with Morty Jr. That bag still smells like my first son’s first days. Before I began keeping things like pieces of ribbon and stray buttons organized for future use. In a tin labeled “ribbons and things.”

Before the tests. Before the birth of my second son.

Before. Before.

Before I terminated the pregnancy that was our daughter.  I don’t remember how that smelled. It was after they told us she likely wouldn’t make it to term and before my husband’s birthday. After my first son’s second birthday. After my thirty fifth birthday. It was cold in the room at the clinic.  It was raining outside.

She was my second child. Before she was born, she was dying. After knowing that, we couldn’t knowingly bring her into a life of suffering, no matter how short or long it would be. Before I knew I was pregnant, I suspected I was. I also suspected she was dying.

The smell of my MAC lipstick brought me back to that time. Before all of this. Before the boys. Before the girl.

And now, there is only forward. Thank you, for being there, before, and forward.

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