The Lester File

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Tree that Smelled of HooHah

There was this tree where I went to college that I used to pass everyday on my way to class. It smelled unmistakably of a woman's hoohah and everyone knew it, even complained about it. It got worse during the early summer days and was not the most pleasant way to be made alert and ready for class. Some students actually thought it was some kind of conspiratorial plant; but, I think it was probably cheap and looked nice, so it became part of the campus landscape design accidentally. It was eventually torn down after I graduated so that other innocent students wouldn't be exposed to such foul feminine odor without their consent ever again.

As inappropriate as this post may be thus far, what's more inappropriate is what made me think of that tree and its interesting fragrance in the first place, after all of these years. I have been reading the famous bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, about a man from Sierra Leone who survived his war torn childhood to come to New York and write about his past. It is a beautiful book so far, one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about the violence in Africa from the perspective of a child compelled to give up his childhood. It is vividly dark (if that is possible), so that you can almost smell the blood he has drenched himself in
(no, this is not where I started to think about strange odors) and yet his innocence is still present even many years later. Perhaps he fought to regain it, I haven't gotten that far yet.

As I read, my mind began to wander to my own past and how fortunate I had been.
The most uncomfortable I had felt in my 4 years of college (aside from obvious growing pains situations) was being forced to endure an unfortunate-smelling tree everyday. I was never forced to become part of a rebel and immature army of raiders and rapists like this boy had. Or to kill my classmates who didn't meet the ridiculous, superstitious expectations of the professor. I am awaking once again the way that tree used to wake me up as I passed it on my way to Spanish class; unexpectedly.

I smile when I remember the day when, sitting down for lunch, I waited until a lull occurred in the conversation around the caf' table. I suddenly posed a sheepish, yet direct question that had been weighing on my heart all year. I asked, "have you guys ever noticed how that tree near Singers smells like hoohah?"
After a moment, everyone screamed together, "OH MY GOD, you noticed that too?? I THOUGHT IT WAS ONLY ME! That tree totally smells like hoohah." It was a good day.