My brain is being visited by random sounds and smells

How strange. This intro to a Mexican telenovela just started playing in my head last night. I have a vague memory of having watched the show in the afternoons when I was around 4 or 5, but aside from that I don’t remember any episode from the show, or what it was about. The show’s title, El Diario de Daniela, has floated around in my head for most of my life, without really being attached to anything. I finally decided to look it up, and was somewhat surprised to find that all these years I had been humming the melody correctly—note for note—in my head, right from 00:30.  It’s strange, because I don’t really think about it, I don’t actually remember anything about it, and yet I’ve never forgotten it. And last night this intro just began playing in my head, snippets of its tune mixing in with Blur, Beach Boys, and the Swiss Army Man soundtrack. I wonder if it’s trying to tell me something. Maybe my mind is so hung up on the present and future that it’s decided to introduce some positive/neutral feeling of nostalgia for the past, if only to ground me.

Odd. Last night, too, I remember being hit by a vivid memory of this very particular scent. It was the smell of lotion from a brand called Bambini. They used to hand out samples of the stuff during school fairs back in 4th grade. I remember the smell flooding the classroom as girls ripped open their packets, eager to try them out; sweet and cloying, the kind of fruity smell that would give you headaches after a while. There wasn’t an image in my head, but the memory of the smell was very realistic. I almost thought someone in the house had bought a bottle of the lotion and was using it in the middle of the night.

I’m being haunted by insignificant sensations from my youth.


Old Family Movies

My dad got the old camcorder up and running again, after more than a decade of disuse. It wasn’t in top shape—most of the tapes had moldy ribbons—but most of it was clear enough to make the faces out. Mama, Papa, my sister & her boyfriend sat in the living room; my brother & his girlfriend joined us later on. My other sister was fast asleep, so she missed out on all the laughter and reminiscing. My parents were unconsciously playing a game of spotting old relatives and pointing out which ones have died, speaking up every so often to say “yan, patay na ‘yan” and laughing heartily afterwards. Birthdays and outings, Christmas and New Year celebrations, town fiestas and house blessings; we had tapes for almost all the occasions in our young lives. My sisters’, my brother’s, & my own face had been small, our smiles filled with tiny teeth, eyes bright & shining as we danced and made pa-cute, unembarrassed. My dad still had a full head of hair and a thick wad of bills in his pocket; my mom still had her 27-inch waistline. The whole family saw itself as it used to be: young, happy, and very much together. I suppose we still are all of those things, relatively.. But you know, things are never really the same after some time has gone by.