What I want, no, need actually, is to remember the smells of youth. The images I can recall, but they are aged pictures, run repeatedly through the Photoshop of memory, and cannot be trusted only desired.
The old, half ready to fall oak, in the Salt Lake City park had a faint pungency that lingered even as I departed my body as the acid kicked in, and drew me back from the abyss hours later,
and my then wife, cradling our first born in the hospital bed, the scent of innocence and sterility that neither of us dared recognize as a foretelling of our denouement.
Those moments are lost in the sea of time, washed away from memory’s shore, but the smell of a summer oak still promises a gentle return to self.
As a child he had a magical power. He didn’t like to use it, didn’t want others to know he had it, certainly couldn’t share it. He wasn’t certain when it began to fade, but he noticed the power diminished as he grew, as he learned more about the world, and there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop or even slow its diminution. He knew he would miss it, knew he would always remember it even when there was no longer a trace of it. He stopped thinking about it as life engulfed him in its ever-present moments. Every once in a while he would pause and remember it with fondness for innocence is not something you lose willingly.
He is still three, but he is not easily convinced of that fact. He says he is four, although with that certain smirk and a wink he admits his birthday is next week. He says he is practicing being four and it doesn’t seem all that hard. He says he has gotten so good at it that next year he is thinking of turning twenty-seven. His father smiles at this, imagining all the teenage years of angst bypassed in a single night.
She asks the Rabbi what God looks like, and he has to admit he doesn’t know. She doesn’t know either, but she’s only three so she isn’t expected to know. She tells the Rabbi that he should find out. The Rabbi doesn’t tell her he is no longer certain where to look for God. She knows that beyond the clouds and behind the stars, at the very edge of the universe, that’s where God must be. Her daddy said there was a restaurant there. She doesn’t ask if it is Chinese or Indian. She thinks God’s favorite food is chickpeas. She is sure God also likes pineapple. She is going to have a baby brother soon. She wonders how soon he will talk and listen to her, because she has so much to teach him. She doesn’t know if God is a boy or a girl. She wanted to ask the Rabbi, but he didn’t know what God looks like. She wants to meet God one day, she thinks. It will probably be in an Indian restaurant. She is sure God likes the buffet. Especially the chickpeas.