I remember when he came home smelling like cheap perfume. "Hell-oooo," he called as he entered the house after a day at work. He made his way to the bedroom where I was dressing a child after a bath. He bent down to give me a kiss upon the cheek. As he did, my nose sniffed and my back stiffened a bit. There was a different scent surrounding him.
I was used to years of the stale scent of cigarettes, sterile office funk and even sometimes a bit of his greasy lunch. However, for the last several months, he had been fighting the addiction of nicotine. An addiction of 15 years that was a monster with which to be reckoned. But, he was determined and well, was forced to end it because of suffering a mild heart attack at only 34. During our 8 years of knowing each other, I had never known his "normal" scent. It had always been masked by the heaviness of a pack a day habit. But, within the first week of his battle, his natural smell slowly emerged, as years of the toxins slowly released from his pores. But what my nose hinted at this evening was not this newly known scent, this was more floral.
"What is that smell?" I asked.
"What smell?" he immediately responded.
"You smell like cheap perfume." I said with a little bit of indignity.
"I do? No I don't," he said.
Did Tammy (his assistant) wear something new that somehow caught wind of you?" I inquired.
"No," he said as he walked into the closet to change clothes.
The next day, upon entering our house, he leaned to give the "honey, I am home" peck on the cheek.
"AHA! I smell it again!" I exclaimed. "I know I smell something, Jay."
"What?" he said.
"You know exactly what I am talking about!" I began to shout. "What is going on? I want to know." I could feel the bile begin to rise in my throat, my heart beating faster and faster. This couldn't be happening.
He hung his head and I knew this couldn't be good.
He began to mutter, "It is Febreeze."
"Febreeze?" I said, completely flabbergasted. "What are you talking about?"
His words spilling quickly from his mouth, "I have started smoking again and I didn't want you to know. So, to mask the smell, I started spraying myself with Febreeze before getting out of the car. I am sorry."
"Ok, that is THE most ridiculous thing I have ever heard," I said. "Febreeze." I let out a deep breath. With much relief I hugged him and told him to take a shower. I wanted that scent gone!