The woman reclined on the couch in the psychiatrist’s office and stared blankly at the ceiling. She knew that she needed help with her addiction and that Charlie wanted her to get help, but it was hard to speak about it to a person who was not a total stranger. But then again, Dr. Van Pelt was charging more than the 5 cents she used to charge when she ran her office out of a slapped-together stand back in the day they were kids.
Finally, she sighed and began to talk, “I think that it all started with some dim memory of my mother. She died when I was young, and I have only vague memories of what she looked like—my father never showed me any picture of her. I honestly don’t know if he even kept any. My memories of her are more a memory of her scent than of her face.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the doctor nod and make a motion for her to continue to talk.
“Anyway, I remember when I was five or six, dad took me to a candy store. The first thing I smelled when I entered was her scent. I thought maybe, somehow, she had returned from wherever she had been for those many years. I pulled away from my father’s grasp and ran from one female store customer to another trying to find the one that was her, to find my mother.”
The doctor took some notes and again motioned for her to continue.
The woman continued, “After exhausting all the possibilities, I stopped and looked around in confusion. I realized that the smell wasn’t coming from any of the customers but from one of the bins of candy in the store. I ran over and grabbed a handful of it. I held it to my nose and breathed the smell in deeply. My father came to my side and looked down at me. He smiled and nodded as a tear came to his eye.”
“It was your mother’s favorite also, Patricia,” he said. “She couldn’t get enough of it to eat. It was even her favorite shampoo scent.”
“I smiled at him and went back to breathing in the wonderful scent. As the years passed, I couldn’t get enough of it. Father always made sure that there was some in the house for me to eat. I became obsessed with it. It became my favorite shampoo scent also—even during my awkward tomboy years. The other kids teased me about it. They even stuck me with a nickname which included it. It was kind of funny that my drink of choice, schnapps, has it included in it.”
“Now, of course, my fiancé feels that I need to address the issue of my obsession with it before our wedding day. Chuck is very sweet and caring though introverted.”
The woman smiled. “But it is like good old Charlie Brown says, it is just peppermint, Patty!”