Scent of a Man

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She knew it was over when she couldn’t stand the smell of him. The pheromones that had once madly attracted her to him had dissipated. She wasn’t even sure when he turned from being a melliferous man into one who oozed a certain bitter brininess.

His odor permeated the bedroom-an overwhelming form of halitosis-especially in the morning. She remembers how it used to startle her awake. She would be lying close to him one minute and then quickly find refuge on the other side of the bed the next.

It wasn’t long before she arose earlier and earlier each day in an effort to escape the toxicity of him. The raunchiness remained even after he finally woke up and left the room. Then, while he was showering, she would pull down all the bed covers and throw open the windows in an effort to rid the room of his stench.

On the surface, he was a meticulously clean man. He dressed sharply and every hair was in place. But just beneath lay the sewage of his soul. Lately, it had been percolating, bubbling up. He created hazardous waste within their relationship and in their own home.

She knew that his habits were really a manifestation of his need for total control of his own environment at best and an overall inconsideration and disrespect for her at worst. Because he didn’t feel like hanging his jackets in the back hall (where it was cold in the winter), he would pile them up on a kitchen chair. He left his shoes right outside the living room where she or the children inevitably would trip on them.  “Watch where you’re going!”, he would say. He also had his special stack of magazines and papers on one of the living room end tables. She was not allowed to move them except if she dusted.

He seemed to have no problem sitting his ass on the couch while she ran around the house like a whirling dervish cooking dinner and cleaning after working all day either.  A meal and a clean house were par for the course. But she sure was getting tired of cleaning up the toothpaste scum off the bathroom sink’s soap dish. He refused to put his brush with the rest of the family’s. Instead, he would lay it down near the open tube, not caring if he left remnants of saliva or paste on the surface. And he never shut their closet door.  Just left it wide open for her to stub her toe or hit her head in the middle of the night when she got up to pee.

When she called even the slightest attention to any of these issues, he would raise holy hell. Start talking about her bad habits. Tell her, “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.”

She knew she was in a vicious cycle. She was weary and unloved. And she couldn’t stand him or his foulness any longer.  It was time to plan her exit.

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

One thought on “Scent of a Man

  1. Oh my!! so many things I can relate to here on many levels. I felt the same way of my father’s scent. I too am glad we were together to have our two children…having them was the best part of my marriage.

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