Bath and Body Works website describes their Sweet Pea fragrance as: “An award winning mix of juicy raspberries and pear kissed by soft pink petals.” It’s not the sort of aroma to which I am normally drawn, but due to the lovely pink bottles in which the entire Sweet Pea line comes in (shower gel, fine fragrance mist, body lotion, and so on), we’ve been known to have a small container of Sweet Pea lotion lying around the house from time to time. Clearly, it’s not for me. Pink? Yep, it’s Melina’s lotion of choice, closely followed by Velvet Sugar. (If Velvet Sugar isn’t some code porn name, I don’t know what is, you know?)
On any normal day, I can take or leave the Sweet Pea lotion. If Melina wears it, the fragrance doesn’t bother me, but I’d much rather slather on Gold Bond Medicated Lotion to ease the cracks and crevices of my overly-chapped hands. My reaction is partly due to the fact that the Sweet Pea lotion, once you’ve worked it into the skin, can leave the scent behind for far too long. Well after I’ve washed my hands in the kitchen, twice even, I can still smell the “juicy raspberries and pear.” When I pick up my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and bring it to my mouth for eating, it’s not the peanuts I smell, but the odor of the soft pink petals. Sweet Pea, sometimes, is just too much for me.
Except when its not.
Except when it’s used to rub the foot of a woman who is partially paralyzed and her only request is for someone to rub her aching feet.
Except when it’s a part of the daily life of a woman who gave her time and talent to your children, spread her love to the masses, and always had a smile for you.
Except when it’s the only thing you can do for a person to ease her suffering as she dwindles in this life, wondering when she’s going to go ahead to the next.
A couple of years ago now, I did just that: I sat for a few moments with a woman we knew and rubbed that lotion all over her feet. I remember holding back the tears as I watched her close her eyes, seemingly content with the motion of my fingers against her arches. I didn’t know what to say, and she didn’t need me to say anything. I’m hoping that my actions spoke louder than my words ever could have, because sadly, I never did make it back to help her with her feet again.
The other day, as I rooted around in the bathroom cupboard for a band-aid, my fingers stumbled upon an old bottle of the Sweet Pea lotion, left over from the days when Melina was home more often, when she wasn’t in school full-time, and she had time to apply lotion multiple times a day. The bottle is only half-full, but as I shook it between my hands, and thought about throwing it into the garbage, I just couldn’t. Instead, I opened the bottle, held my nose over the top of the container, and inhaled a large breath.
That fragrance had never smelled so sweet to me.