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With a Whiff of Sunscreen

I congratulated myself for remembering sunscreen.  Spring has been in the air for more than a week now, but I can’t seem to get spring into my mind.  Finally, sunscreen made it into the Go Bag.

(Don’t you just love that name?  The Go Bag.  It’s not my purse, it’s not my backpack, it’s not my briefcase.  It’s my Go Bag.  Whatever I need today: toss it in the Go Bag.  I named it when Robb and I used to do day trips and weekend getaways.  My Go Bag was always too heavy for his liking.  But I couldn’t leave any of those books behind.)

I taught the boys to give themselves a good lather in sunscreen; Tyler in particular showed a shiny veneer over his skinny little self.  Tuck found the added benefits of using it as hair gel.

Hours later, I was working at the library.  Clicking away on my laptop. Books in an open and closed array around me.  My water bottle at hand, so I can feign Colorado hydration even though most of the time my body is very, very thirsty.

Tyler and I had shared the water bottle at the park, and he left sunscreen residue on the edge of the bottle.

And suddenly, of all places, the scent carried me to my second honeymoon with Robb.  Cancun, Mexico.  Just like that, I was no longer sitting cross-legged in the plush chair at the library; in my mind, I had stretched across a beach chair, under an umbrella, in a polka dot bikini with a margarita in my hand.

Frozen.  Extra salt.

I let myself remember.

We thought we would leave the resort and venture out and about, but every morning we woke up to discover we actually had everything we wanted in another lazy day together.

For eight days, we did everything late.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, evening drinks and nightlife.  Everything was better on a Mexican delay.

We got in a fight, because what is a vacation without one.  I got too caught up in my book; apparently I forgot for a brief moment (or morning and afternoon) that Robb had come on the trip.  We spent a day with hurt feelings and lost time that couldn’t be found, redeemed, or redone.  I hated that day.
The hotel had a DVD library for our perusal.  Late at night, we watched all of Season Five of Friends while the fluffy blankets and pillows swallowed us whole.

Between meals, we snacked on our all-inclusive options: chips with pico and guac in the midmorning, and drippy, melting ice cream in the afternoon.

We spent most of eight days on the beach, in the sand.  We spent all of it together.

And right this minute, I can smell his sunscreen.  It’s like he’s here.  Or I’m there.

I remember thinking, even then, “It’s so great to be beside him.”

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. One day I saw pictures from this trip on either Facebook or your blog and decided right then that when my husband and I got married we would be budgeters with a category called “10 Year Anniversary Vacation Fund.” We’re only 9 months in, but we’re on track. So thank you. I’m sure the little sacrifice each month to tuck that money away will be worth it. 🙂

  2. It does the heart good to be able to be transported back to happy times with just a scent…..isn’t it amazing how the brain works! You both look so happy, carefree and relaxed in the photos Tricia and maybe one day you’ll take your boys there and make more happy memories with Robb watching….smiling….laughing with you.

  3. Reminds me of the song “Precious Memories.” How they linger. Beautiful, sweet story, Tricia. May the Lord bring you more of those “triggers” as you need them. God bless.

  4. a beautiful memory! and gorgeous pictures. amazing how scents can transport us. margaret smelled a certain sunscreen last week, that kind of smells like orange sherbert, and it was the first time she said, ‘that smells like jack!’

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