Evaluative: Holding On to What Is Left

"One thing that always brings me back to him is the smell of his cologne. Every time I smell it I can close my eyes and I can see him again…"


The sense of smell is a unique one. It not only serves as an identifier of the objects around us but also as a memory book of the times once spent. Over the past nineteen years of my life, I have stumbled across many scents. Some were pleasant, some were rather regretful, but all were memorable. Each day that I have spent away from home, I have in return gained knowledge of life and the world around me. I have learned that no good deed goes unrewarded and there is a price for everything. But there is one thing that I have yet to unearth these past few months, and that is the scent of my brother Evan.

Evan wears a cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch. Every time I’m around him, I discover the aroma of this magnificent smell. Often times, the smell is strong and almost overwhelming, partially due to the fact that he just put it on. At first the scent almost reminds me of the cologne called Moves by Adidas. But then I take a second breath and realize that it is not. The cologne Evan wears is more of a warm fragrance that kind of sneaks up on me and gets me curious. The Adidas cologne is more vibrant and sparks my attention for a moment. If I’m around it too much, it will give me a headache. The Abercrombie & Fitch scent is something I could smell and be around all day without worrying about it becoming bothersome. According to Ackerman, “Because our noses jut out from our faces, odors have quite a distance to travel inside them before we’re aware of what the nose has probed” (31). I often times will take one of my brother’s sweatshirts, bring it close to my face, and take a long, deep breath through my nose. My eyes close and my head gradually tilts backward, then I slowly exhale, becoming completely relaxed by the aroma. I don’t quite know what it is about this scent, but I just can’t seem to get enough of it.

My brother Evan is currently working for IBM, about twenty minutes outside of Philadelphia in a town called Exton. Evan hasn’t really been a large part of my life over the years. He has been broadening his horizons at college in Columbus, Ohio, and away earning a living at IBM for the past six years. He hardly gets holidays off and was lucky to get Christmas off this past year. Since I haven’t really seen him that much, it feels as though he and I have fallen out of touch and I find myself having a hard time recalling him. Of my two brothers, Evan and I have always been the closest. The two of us seem to understand and relate to one another in a way that my brother Austin and I can’t. As kids, Evan and I would constantly play video games, go trail riding, and just plain old have fun. There would never be a dull moment and he was always there to help me when I needed it. But not having him around has really begun to tear me apart. One thing that always brings me back to him is the smell of his cologne. Every time I smell it I can close my eyes and I can see him again. No matter where I am, just one scent of it brings me back to the wonderful times I’ve had with him.

Being able to have that memory means the world to me, especially considering I never get to see Evan anymore. However, after not having that familiar aroma around me every so often, I am beginning to forget the once vivid smell. Now I feel as though my brother is farther away than ever. I am going though many changes and transitions right now being a freshman in college, and it is hard not having Evan here to help me through it. I would give anything to be able to have the scent of my brother back and fresh in my memory. It was mentioned in the Harvard University Gazette that, “sensor cells in the nose don’t last a lifetime. After 30 to 60 days…they die and are replaced by new nerve cells, which develop in the inner lining of the nose” (Cromie). I would hate the thought of losing the memory of that smell. His cologne holds significance to my past and is a part of me. Though it does not define me entirely as a person, it does remind me of a childhood memory, and a brother that I will forever cherish. As Kevin Arnold once said, “memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” (thinkexist.com).

 by Liz Tepsic, English 101


Works Cited

Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Cromie, William J. “Researchers Sniff Out Secrets of Smell.” The Harvard University Gazette 8 April 1999. 10 February 2008 http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/04.08/smell.html.

“Kevin Arnold Quotes.” 2006. Thinkexist.com. 10 February 2008 < http://thinkexist.com/quotes/kevin_arnold/&gt;.


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