My own smell is at first comforting and then repulsive, the scent of pastry, cherry-apple craving, and too much sugar. Urge. Afterwards, I scold myself and try to scrub it off. A scalding shower, my skin burnt and crisp, my insides tender. But the stench—my want—lingers.
I’ve never broken any bones and, in elementary school, was jealous of the kids who had casts, and of my sister, who was prone to nosebleeds. I once dotted a Kleenex with red permanent marker, showed it to my mom. She said, “It’s late. You should be in bed.” Later, on a whim, I took a stapler to my toe. It didn’t hurt, but I was surprised by the blood, the way it pooled into a bubble, then stretched into a bright red circle, soaking through tissue after tissue before finally stopping.
Back then my want was odorless.