The Fragrance of a Memory This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   My fondest memory of my father is when I was a youngchild during the cold winter months of Texas. I would wake up in the morningscozy in my soft bed; it felt like living inside a freshly baked chocolate chipcookie. Knowing that everything outside my bed was cold and frosty gave mechills.

My dad would enter my room to interrupt my dreams so I could getready for school, saying, "¡Hijo mio! Rise and shine."

Iwould always try to weasel my way out of having to leave the bed, which neverworked. As I'd stumble out of my refuge of blankets and sheets, my dad would singa song he created just for me: "Stretch that body, stretch that body, makesure you don't hurt nobody," he would chirp. He has a voice that sounds likea train wreck, so it always made me laugh and managed to get me up, too.

I still remember how the brisk winter air felt as I got out of bed and itwrapped around my body. And I can remember the texture of the floors as I slidacross them in my one-piece pajamas with the little footies attached. Weary-eyed,I would chew my Fruity Pebbles while staring at cartoons on the television. Mydad would periodically poke his head into the kitchen, saying, "Hustle up,son."

Eventually, I would finish breakfast, mosey upstairs, fall intosome clothes and haphazardly brush my teeth. I then stumbled back down thestairs, still sleepy and cold. It never failed - I don't know whether it wasplanned or just dumb luck - but I would always find my dad standing there withhis jacket on and mine in his hand. He never let me put my jacket on by myself,even after I had become quite good at it, and he would zip me up.

Thispart still causes the corners of my mouth to stretch from ear to ear. His handsalways smelled of cologne. It wasn't a pungent, unpleasant odor, nor did it smellsweet. It was placid and safe. It said to me, Son, I love you, I'll always takecare of you and you'll never want for anything. And to this day it has kept itspromise.

My father's cologne represents everything he means to me. Hero,saint and dad are all expressed in that one scent. As he would zip up my jacket,I couldn't help but take in a deep breath. Maybe the sense of security it broughtme as a child makes this a fond memory, or maybe I'm just crazy. I know, however,that I would give almost anything to have that kind of relationship with myfather again.

I hate the fact that I've put up walls between us for pettyreasons. He has never abused my mother or me, I have never gone a day withoutfood, and he has always made sure I had the nicest clothes, the coolest toys, thesmoothest bikes and the newest video games. His only fault, if you can call itthat, has been that he loves me unconditionally and supports me in everything Ido. When I fail, he encourages me, and when I disappoint him, he tells me howmuch he loves me.

I only hope that this memory I hold so dear and closeto my heart will one day stop haunting the depths of my mind and become realityagain. That will only happen when I demolish the walls I have unjustly builtagainst the person who loves me the most.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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