Sense and Sensitivity

Today when I stepped into the elevator to go downstairs, I was hit with the overbearing smell of old lady perfume. It was the same perfume that one of my female relatives used to wear when I was a child in Syria. I started to cry, I remembered hot summers in Damascus, eating ice cream and going for evening walks with my aunt or great aunt and having that smell, incessantly in my nostrils. It even affected the taste of my ice cream. I thought, the world is cruel. I am not with my aunt right now, nor am I seven years old anymore or eating ice cream on a hot summer evening.

I went for my run and pondered the conclusion I had come to and came to a new conclusion. I don’t like negativity and I decided that the world is not cruel. How great it is that our senses can trigger memories with such vivid reality that we would not have normally remembered without that whiff of asphalt, the breeze that blows our hair in our face, the taste of sangria or the deep bellow of a violoncello. I wrote in my journal, “our senses are so sensitive,” I leaned back and laughed to myself. I had never realized that sense was the root of sensitive. I’m sure I could have told you that if asked but I had never made the connection before. I got to thinking more about it and it makes perfect sense, our senses are sensitive, and that’s what’s so wonderful about them. That’s what makes them our senses, because they are sensitive. They are ours and nobody feels them other than ourselves, they are tied to our history, our past, our experiences, memories and everything that makes us us. I decided that I am glad my senses are so sensitive, I am blessed to have had such wonderful experiences that can so easily be called upon by such simple a thing, as the smell of perfume.

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