(Copyright 1993, 2012 Dee Fairbanks Simpson - from unpublished manuscript "Confessions of a Fat Starving Artist")
That smell. She recognized it, but did not dare open her eyes. She laid in the bed, frozen. I know that smell, she thought. But from where? The paper mills in Erving… in summer. She remembered the smell was so putrid, even with the car windows closed, it was nearly impossible to suppress the gag reflex. The chemicals, the rotting pulp, it would hang stagnant in the air like a fog over the entire town.
No, she thought. It’s not the paper mills, it’s worse. As the stench grew stronger and closer, she shut her eyes tighter as her mind raced furiously. A memory - That truck stop bathroom in Ohio. She had been driving for four hours straight and had to pee so bad that it ached. She had pulled into the truck stop and ran to the rest room. When she opened the restroom door, it hit her. The smell of urine and feces and possibly a dead animal or two. She gasped for air and the smell invaded her mouth. She began to choke as she slammed the door shut and ran back to her car, still gasping for air. She couldn’t relieve herself – she held it till she got to Pennsylvania, and eventually had to burn the clothes she was wearing that day.
Is that what this smell is? No she thought, perhaps…
“Good morning, honey”, his deep sweet voice murmured. She opened her eyes and saw him, suddenly realizing what it was. She turned her head away as he softly slipped his hand up her nightshirt and began stroking her left breast.
“Sweetheart,” she said softly, pushing his hand away, “not now – you have morning breath.”