A Scent of Normalcy: June 2020

One of the last places I visited before things shut down was Kohl’s in Palm Desert. I had earned some Kohl’s Cash from a previous purchase and I had heard that soon retail stores might be closing in response to COVID-19 concerns.

I initially thought the store had already closed its doors, but I called and actually spoke to a human. “Good thing you called today. This is the last day the store will be open for a while,” was the response on the other end of the phone. I know it’s silly that someone would be keen to spend $10 in bonus cash, but as everything was changing so rapidly, I had to cling to something familiar, to something I could control. I hopped in my car and drove the short distance from Palm Springs to Palm Desert

When I entered the store, I immediately sensed the change. It was much calmer, more somber and almost empty. The sparse shoppers glanced at each other with suspicion which seemed a bit odd. As the disease continued to spread, I became accustomed to these stares, to the turn of heads when someone sneezed or coughed in public.

But today, that day, I was on a mission. I had $10 in Kohl’s cash and I was determined to make a purchase. I perused the usual. Nope, didn’t need socks or a t-shirt. I wasn’t in search of any kitchen gadgets or mini-electronics either.

Finally, I walked by the candle section – Kohl’s always has a nice selection of wax goods. I smelled the usual assortment – the tropical stuff was too coconutty for spring, that is more of a summer scent, and although I love the smell of mulled apples, that was too Christmasy (in fact those were on clearance). I finally came upon a candle called Blue Citron. It had a nice, clean scent and made me feel invigorated. It made me feel fresh which was something I needed as everything was feeling pretty tainted and dank as each day the news grew more dim.

During the weeks that followed, I would light the Blue Citron when things seemed dark or unclear. I looked at it at times, realizing it was the last item I purchased in a department store, before everything locked down.

The other day, I lit Blue Citron. It had gotten pretty near to the bottom and I realized it was the last time I would be able to enjoy its sweet fragrance. I was watching the local news – we received word that Riverside County can now begin re-opening restaurants, etc.

I looked at the dying embers of the Blue Citron and said, “it’s time for a new candle.” I understand that it still might be a bit before things open up fully, but that’s fine. I can call upon the memory scent of Blue Citron to get me through.

And with that, I end this as “Poolside From PS.”

Published by Manny P

Having written professionally for 35 years, I am working on fulfilling a life-long dream of publishing whatever I want -- novels, blogs, you name it.

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