Friday, March 7, 2014

The Scent of A Woman

One rainy night, when I was a little girl, my mother brought home a strange creature. It was hidden in a small dark vessel containing fresh sugar water and tucked away under the folds of a dark heavy towel. The creature was reverently placed in a quiet shady corner of the kitchen and we children and the maids were solemnly warned never to disturb the creature or raise the towel because such was the nature of this aquatic creature that it thrived in sugar water and absolute darkness.
I was instantly intrigued.


Unbearable longing

From that moment on, I became engulfed by an unbearable longing to see the creature. My noisy childish banter was replaced by a furtive skulking surpassed only by the likes of Sméagol. Often, feigning ignorance, I positioned myself as unobtrusively close to the vessel as I dared, hoping to catch a sliver of activity or a sign of life from within its silent abode. My efforts were in vain, for the vessel remained immobile as though it were empty of its mysterious occupant.
Meanwhile, soon after its arrival, my mother presented my sisters and I every morning with a glass each, filled with a warm slightly steamy fluid which I can only describe as… blood-water.
The taste of it was peculiar yet not unpleasant. It tasted loamy and thick to the tongue; furred and intense, but with a fresh sweetness that provided an instant feeling of sustenance. Its fragrance contained a curious note: strong, sharp and fecund of character; vaguely familiar yet evasive. It serenaded my childish senses with confusing images of hidden caves and forgotten places. It’s odor was at once alien and strangely comforting. My father was not served of this refreshment. And in retrospect, my observations regarding that period of time are that he was never included in the general knowledge regarding the presence of our house guest.


Furious desperation

As the weeks passed, I noted that the vessel in which the creature was housed, regularly was replaced with one larger than its predecessor. Having arrived in a vessel not much larger than a cup, it was now being housed in a large basin big enough for me to sit in. This could only mean that the creature was thriving under favorable conditions and thereby constantly out-growing its home.
As the vessels grew larger, so did the quantity of the red elixir it so generously gave. So much so that soon, the refrigerator became filled with numerous bottles of the substance.
My sisters, good little souls that they were, quickly accepted these refreshments- without question or apparent curiosity, as a part of our morning ablutions and thought no more of it. Myself, ever the Devil’s spawn, grew restless and writhed from within; possessed by a furious desperation to acquaint myself with the silent lodger of our kitchen alcove.
One day, no longer able to contain the urgings which its presence evoked, I crept silently to the vessel knelt beside it and gently lifted a corner of the towel.
Nothing I had ever seen in my life prior to that moment could have prepared me for the sight which confronted my eyes. I beheld a flat watery creature about 60 centimeters in diameter. Its languid form filled the whole basin in which it was contained. Frozen and breathless with shock, all I could do was stare open-mouthed.


Unseen force

After the initial shock subsided, I observed that it appeared only partially submerged in its watery abode. It seemed somehow to float on the water, lifeless and impervious to my disturbance and scrutiny. With my face so close to the water’s edge I felts wafts of hot humid air emanating from it. My nostrils where once again assailed by its lush and familiar fragrance only this time it came with a claustrophobic and nauseating intensity that had me gagging on account of its undiluted composition.
Although it appeared lifeless, the conviction that the creature was very much alive and self-aware somehow rose unbidden in my mind. The physical appearance of the creature could be likened to that of a stingray without a tail. Its entire body seemed to pulsate by the powers of an unseen force emanating from its center. Its colour was a deep, dark, brilliant, velvety magenta.
My curious finger ever questing, slipped of its own accord into the basin to touch the creature. I noted that while the water was extremely warm to touch, it was of the same sluggish density as the contents of the bottles in the refrigerator. Its body felt smooth and firm to my inquisitive fingers. Its flesh displayed a consistency of quality similar to raw liver. The creature was completely devoid of any distinguishing animal or human features. To my bare eye, it was a body without a face, mouth, limbs or other such characteristics. It remained impassive to my touch. Emboldened, I carefully lifted a corner of its body to peer at the underside.
In the flash of that second which forever remains etched in my memory, I caught a glimpse of the soft meat of its underbelly; an unexpected and sickeningly pale hue, just as the creature released a loud human-like sigh.


Menstrual blood

Terrified out of my wits, I at once abandoned my quest and fled the kitchen. In the days that followed, I grew tormented with the fear that evidence of my misadventures would somehow come to light, to expose me for the Peeping Tom that I was.
One morning soon after, I woke up to discover that the vessel was gone. I was greeted by the sight of my mother silently emptying the contents of several bottles into the kitchen sink. Her face bore a look of resigned remorse. Tentatively, I posed the question to her regarding her activities and the nature and whereabouts of the creature. At first I was ignored but after some moments she sighed, ceased her labour and turned her attention to me.
Her explanation made no sense: the creature was as old as time itself. It had no known origins. It always had been and was simply known in some cultures as the Mother Creature. Its existence had been kept secret from men since the beginning of humanity. Its elixir was for females only and it possessed a secret property which was of immeasurable value to the well-being of the drinker.
Yet my mother was pouring this valuable elixir down the drain now because somehow, rumours of its existence had reached the ears of our local parish priest. He declared the creature with its gift of “menstrual blood” a manifestation of the devil and he ordered with immediate effect, that those in possession of the vile creature destroy all evidence of its abominable existence; never to speak of it again, on pain of excommunication.


Primal Vagina

My mother never disclosed how she rid herself of the creature. Further inquiries as to its name, origins, biology or even how it came to be in her possession in the first place, was met with a remorseful silence.
As I grew older, I scoured the internet in vain for any information regarding the strange creature. At some point I believed it to be a no more than a fungus, another version of kefir or Kombucca. I dismissed my childhood encounter as the figment of a lively imagination. Yet rumours have persisted and I have heard whisperings, read foreign documents and dubious reports alluding to the existence of a creature known only to women. The Primal Vagina some called it. The source of life.
It is said that through time, women all over the world have procured for themselves, a piece of this ancient vagina and kept it alive as It in return, kept them alive. A creature that fed on menstrual blood or sweetened water and gave its own menstrual blood in return.
That peculiar odor it exuded which always seemed at once familiar and claustrophobic, I have finally come to recognize. Surprisingly or perhaps not, it is an aroma that I still come across today. In the Ladies’ restrooms of busy places: airports, train stations, movie theaters and recently at IKEA. It is the collective, colourful and unanimously musky essence of every woman’s pussy. Familiar, yet claustrophobic, warm, rich, sweet, yeasty, billowing, raw, loamy and full of verdant life. It is the true scent of a woman.