Olfactory Stimuli


So today was one of interest, being that it started one way and finished in a completely different one.

I woke up stupidly early because I had plans to hang out with Chaos.  We didn’t really pre-arrange what we would be doing or where we’d hang out, and sure enough when I asked what he thought he was indifferent.  I got ready and told him we’d be hanging out at his place, made my travel mug full of coffee, packed up some games in my purse and headed over there.  But we didn’t actually end up playing any games.  Or watching tv, or movies.  Or doing really pretty much of anything that I would have figured we’d have done.

Instead we talked.

We talked for about three or four hours.  We talked about work for a bit, then talked about casual stuff:  gaming, things we do to pass the time, where we each see ourselves in the next few years, travelling, the ill effects of too much alcohol.  I asked him a few times during brief pauses in the conversation if he wanted to play a game or do something else, he’d just shrug and then start talking about something else.  Eventually our conversation dipped its toes into the area of relationships, which was … interesting.  He brought it up and talked about how he doesn’t want a relationship and isn’t sure if he ever does.  I told him that eventually, someday, he’s going to want to settle down with someone.  He joked that maybe when he’s fifty, but yeah … I just don’t know with him.  He talked about how he thinks relationships are just a headache and too much of a hassle to bother with; I just shrugged.   I can relate to not wanting a relationship now, but I can’t say I can relate to never wanting one ever again.  And I told him as much.

While the conversation wasn’t about us or a relationship between us, I think the point was pretty much clear to both of us — we want different things in life.  Sure we both want to escape this small town and want something better, and sure we laugh at the same jokes, finish each other’s sentences and say the exact same thing at the same time.  We like the same things, but still have difference interests as well.  But for the important stuff we want different things.  Where he’s been burned in the past and would rather just give up, I want to believe the best.  I’m a hopeless romantic and want to believe that there’s something better out there for me someday.

Sitting cross-legged on his couch while he sat in his chair, reclining and telling me a story, I realized I really like the guy.  But not in the way I used to like him.  I enjoy spending time with him, his company, sharing interests and talking about anything and everything.  But I don’t have to be in a relationship with him to have these things, and I don’t need to like him to have an excuse to spend time with him.   When I left his place later that day I just felt … better.  I was worried how it was all going to play out, and instead of being a complete disaster it was actually kind of nice.  It made me look forward to him getting back from his trip so we could hang out again (at my place, and definitely playing some video games).

And then .. ugh, weirdness hit.   We had a meeting tonight, and I showed up with one of my co-lackeys and sat down.  We sat with a seat of space in between us, as most of us usually do in the large conference room.  Chaos came in and sat down in the chair right next to me, which was a little odd.  He didn’t say anything, but just sat there.  About half way through the meeting he started fidgeting in his chair and it slid a little closer to mine, which I caught in my peripheral vision before returning my focus to my boss.  And then suddenly I could smell him; the scent of his cologne.  My brain flashed back to moments curled up with him and that scent being wrapped around me, the comfort and how much I just enjoy his smell.  I had to blink a few times and force myself to stop breathing through my nose, and as soon as I did that the problem seemed to disappear and I could focus on the meeting again.

So okay, maybe I’m not completely over the hump.  There are little triggers that obviously are going to linger, like his scent.  But up until that moment every time I looked at him I didn’t feel that little rush or a longing like I have in the past.  And after I was outside of a space where my olfactory senses were bombarded with familiarity, again I seemed to be over it.

So either way, progress.  I think for the first time in months we’re finally on the same page, and things can finally go back to normal.

“Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.” — Vladimir Nabokov


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