The Lingering Aroma
The party ended and the last guest stumbled to their car and drove away to their own bed anticipating a comfortable night’s sleep. The girls and I begin the task of taking in the empty dishes, abandoned cups, and wilted decorations. We begin the cleanup process, so we don’t have to wake up to a mess. It makes the night longer, but the day easier. Therefore, it’s worth it.
As I stand in the middle of our living room I breathe in deeply through my nose. The house is filled with a myriad of scents. A cheese dip that stayed in the crock pot just a little too long. Spicy wings. Beer. Scotch. My cigar intermingled with a few cigarettes. Sweat. However, above all the other smells that assault my nostrils one overpowers the rest and it’s this one I will fall asleep remembering. It’s the lingering aroma of friendship.
I know you probably think I’m crazy, but I promise you it’s there. Like perfume that drifts through a room long after the lady wearing it has left, friendship permeates a home long after the people have gone home. When you settle back in your favorite spot on the couch in a quiet home, friendship hangs in the air reminding you of the people who have made a place in your heart. It brings a smile to your face and warmth to your soul.
It goes deeper, really. You can hear the laughter, feel the hugs, and embrace the closeness of relationships that have surrounded you like your favorite blanket. My home has this fragrance and because I cherish it, it’s an aroma that I won’t be satisfied with just the cheap stuff.
The girls love their fragrances and they spend time making sure the scents match them. Certain smells will make me immediately think of each one and that’s because they are particular to make sure the perfumes, lotions and fragrance mists represent who they are. They are also not cheap. Trust me; I know because I’m the one paying for them. However, they wouldn’t be satisfied with a knock off brand and neither would I. The fragrances they wear keep them in my mind long after they’ve left the room.
And it’s a pleasing aroma, unlike when I lift the lid on the trash can before trash day. Now, that smell can hover in a home long after the trash is taken out and it is far from delightful. Your nose wrinkles. You gag. You pull out the floral scented Fabreeze and start spraying everywhere.
Friendships can have the same lingering aromas. There are some that have soured for whatever reason and leave a taste in the air that makes you want to gargle. Perhaps at one time there was a pleasantness there that everyone enjoyed, but people grow and sometimes things change. I’ve seen personalities do a 180 and suddenly that person you couldn’t wait to invite over is now someone you hide from on Facebook. Bitterness, jealousy, or simply growing in a different direction causes a once sweet fragrance to be! stale and disruptive. These are no longer friendships, but tolerances, and life is way too short to tolerate something that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Then there are those friendships you enjoy, but which leave no lasting aroma in your life. They come in and you enjoy them while they are there, but shortly after they’re gone, they’re also forgotten. These are the acquaintances that you’re social with, perhaps send a Christmas card to, but there’s no real urgency to get together. Neither one really misses the other.
The aroma that seeped into our hearts the other night was the expensive fragrance of friendship that permeates life. These are the people that are just as real behind your back as they are to your face. They knock on your door at odd times and you’re not angry that they didn’t call first. They are friends that you invite to your kids birthdays and weddings because they know and love your kids as you do theirs. They text you throughout the day checking on your parent that isn’t doing well. They arrive early to events and stay late. It’s this special group that while you’re sitting on the couch watching television, you look over at your spouse and together wonder what the others are doing.
The friendship that leaves a lingering aroma is not based on wealth or social status. It doesn’t depend on career or even age. This friendship is based on a journey of hearts that comes second only to that of marriage. As I stand in the middle of my living room, it’s this fragrance that fills my being and makes me smile. It’s this sensation that makes me look at the girls and say, “We need to do this again next week.”
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