Monday, February 8, 2010

kiss here

There are days in early Summer here when stepping outside is like opening an oven door too quickly - hot air rushes at my face and blows my hair up in a parody of an old magazine cover. A stencil on the pavement on the corner says in pink, 'kiss here'. Dust and grit blows into my eyes, people push through the air, wading in melted marshmallow, or soup, or towels warm from the dryer. The sky is grey, clouds sitting low and thick in my lungs - it's like breathing cotton.
Walking up the street for lunch I smell first Chinese food, then chocolate, croissants, nailpolish and laundry in quick succession. Thick, dense rain starts to fall, slow and exaggerated. Everything's replaced by that sweet, savoury, nostalgic scent of wet, hot concrete. Sometimes on days like this you'll see steam rising from the road. Within moments the fat, lazy rain is replaced by little fists, opening to slap the sidewalk faster and faster. The streets empty, doorways and shop awnings crowded, and then as quick as it began the rain is over.

There's a brand of perfume, or 'scent library', called Demeter, which makes fragrances with names like Celery, Clean Windows, Paint, and Pipe Tobacco. They have one called New Zealand which I remember smelling not dissimilar to the Moss, Earthworm, and Dirt flavours. If they bottled the smell of these hot wet days it would be called December in Melbourne, or Walking Past a Subway Entrance After a Long Absence (a completely separate experience but a memory that days like this always evoke). It would be a combination of some perfumes they've already got; Thunderstorm, Laundromat, Humidor and Rain, though they'd have to mix in some concrete, sweat and sunshine to get it just right.

1 comment:

  1. You write so beautifully. The opening of this post so perfectly captures how I feel on those days.