This morning I woke up feeling awful. It could have been allergies, it could have been caffein withdrawals, or it could have been something so much worse. My head pounded like there was someone in there, someone small and mean, knocking nail after nail into my brain. My nose was jammed up, and the postnasal drip was itching my throat. Oh, and my eyelids were dangling from a noose called exhaustion. First thing, I took some Allegra D to rule out allergies, and after showering and walking the dog I promised Michelle I’d drop something off at the Post Office for her. On the way there I stopped at the gas station and bought myself one of those carbonated raspberry-flavored Yerba Mate drinks. I’d say I could use it, all things considered. In the car I popped the tab and the passageways in my nose burst open as a hint of raspberry wafted through. It smelled delicious and the stuffiness was dwindling. I took my first sip and felt the bubbles dance on my tongue and the smell of raspberries reminded me that it was summer now even though outside the car it was gray and drab and possibly would rain later. But inside the car it smelt like summer, like when you’re younger and you pick berries with your parents at a nearby farm. I started to feel a little bit more awake now and I realized the nastiness I felt earlier was from a lack of caffeine. So I drove the rest of the way to the Post Office, and, with the windows down, the air outside licked my skin and swirled and hopped through my hair. I didn’t care that it was colder than it should be for this time of year and the air had that nasty mildew smell before a storm. The music playing released just enough endorphins to keep me going and the wind itself continued to waltz and wave in a brisk cataclysmic buzzing array and the Yerba Mate kept the car smelling sweet and delicious.
On the way back from the Post Office it was the same scene: Wind, Rhythm, and Sweetness, until I stopped at that red light and the first putrid wave hit my nostrils. It smelled of shit, dirty feet, and the blackest of mold. I looked ahead of me and before the car was a dump truck sweating an odor so revolting it made me gag. The windows were down at the time so I rolled them up but I think it was too late, for the smell was stuck inside my car. The Yerba Mate didn’t taste the same, the music didn’t sound the same, my mood plummeted drastically. I was so distraught. I shifted to the left lane and, when I could, darted past the dump truck and when it was far enough behind me, I rolled the windows back down to air out the nasty stench that only comes from rotting carcasses or dumpsters sweating beneath an epic sun.
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