Coffee & Aftershave
By Daniel Andres Blanco
To the morning cup of instant coffee with cinnamon, and Gillette aftershave.
What a freaking weird combination. The thought of a morning cup of instant coffee with cinnamon and Gillette aftershave sharing a room together is puzzling and really does not make a lot of sense.
Like a hipster from Sherman Oaks traveling to a locally-owned coffee shop in the Antelope Valley for an aesthetic selfie. Like, dude. Just go to Starbucks.
Maybe that’s the reason why I can’t smell to save my life. Being surrounded by a clash of dissonant, nauseating stenches your entire life would probably do that to you.
They’re smothering. Overwhelming. Another word for overwhelming. Too much. Demasiado. They stay in the air and stain on the walls, regardless of how many windows you open. They stick to everything.
It’s not even that I hate the morning cup of instant coffee or the aftershave, it’s that I can’t stand them TOGETHER. On their own, pretty solid! I mean, who doesn’t love a comforting cup of morning joe to stimulate your brain after a restless night, and the smooth tingling of a moisturizing aftershave with a hint of musk (is that what that is?) after shaving your patchy-ass beard and peach fuzz mustache you’ve had since the 9th grade. Ima be real. I just really want a freaking mustache, man.
In small doses, they’re perfect. One at a time, no problem. From far away where I can barely smell them, solid.
But to live with them, to have them be the first thing to greet you when you wake up, and the last thing to say goodnight to you before you sleep, I can’t be the only one losing my mind, right? It’s so easy to get irritated by the scents of Latin bean juice and mentholly menacing musk (I just see the name everywhere, what the hell is musk??). They’re always around you.
Like bro, you know when you can’t get an awful smell out of your clothes? Like, you put an absolute crap ton of lavender detergent in the wash and your clothes still reek? Or maybe it’s just stuck in your nose, and you keep wondering if it’s your nose that’s smelling or you actually are just smelling yourself. It never goes away.
They’re always around. But they’ve also always been around. Always.
Every single morning, every single day, every single night, they’ve always been there. Even when I’m not at home, the smells linger in my nose, hints stay on all of my clothes.
In a way, it’s actually kind of comforting. They’re smells to come home to. Even on the days I want to be left alone, the smells still linger. It’s crazy to think that there was a time where I hated them.
I remember the first time I left, I couldn’t be happier. I returned reluctantly, but I was shocked when I suddenly realized how much I missed those scents.
The second time I left, you know, I found myself crying after breakfast, knowing that I couldn’t make my coffee the same way you did. I remember when I teared up in the bathroom after noticing my beard was growing out just like yours, while using the same aftershave you have, you know, the one you keep in a used pill bottle because you believe in recycling?
No matter how hard I try to run, I always find myself coming back to you two.
Now as I leave home for the third, presumably the last time, I can’t help but feel like I’ve taken you both for granted. Maybe I was in too much of a hurry to smell something different. I wish I enjoyed the smell of morning instant coffee with cinnamon, and that menacingly mentholly musky man face cream more. I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to embrace you both again. I hope it’s soon.
But as long as I have my own coffee maker, and as long as I have irritated skin after shaving my patchy beard that refuses to grow the right way, I know you’ll always be there with me. Just like I know that I’ll always be with you.