I am obsessed with memories. I have spent the last week in reminiscence. I am perhaps delusional in that I begin my recollections by searching for an aroma that can take me back to the act of my life I imagine I can not forget. Not that the world would know. I am still functional like most humans, robotically living out the various stages of life.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.”
I recall those stages. The smell of warm milk and powder dancing in the air. The innocence of meeting a stranger or peeking a look at two beings madly in love; clawing like beasts. The sweetness of a mother’s milk and roughness of a father’s touch.
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
The perceptions of perfumes and morning tea. The muskiness of a man’s arms, and snuffle of a woman’s navel. The scent of a proposal.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.
The foulness of homlessness. The stench of war. The odour of academia.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
The flavour of meditation. The acridity of self query.
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
The cense of death. Stench of uncertainty. Fetidness of recollections.
note: Poem in black print is from Jacques speech in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.