Nothing transports like smell. Deadwinter oranges, fresh sheets, blood on the wind. The best ones are the ones you can’t quite place but feel in your marrow, in the deepest recesses of your mammal brain.
Ever, the type who arrived once a millennium, was more than emotionally transported by smell. She was transported bodily by it. If the moon was in the right phase and she was unanchored by earthly attachments, she would begin a ritual migration back to the happiest time in her life. A time that never failed to amaze her, full of awe and possibility. Back to a particular evening that reflected upon itself endlessly like two mirrors squaring off.
This day was one where the air shimmered with heat, but the water stayed crisp, cool, smooth as glass. She would float for hours, staring at the clouds and feeling the water lap at the sides of her face. Her mother fretted over the freckles that would appear on her nose, the burn on her shoulders. Shouting from the shore, she would order Ever to come in for a hat or to rest in the shade. The shouting never worked, but her father always knew what would. As the sun would start to make its way back to the horizon, he would gather kindling and wood. Vegetables would appear, as would fat sausages from the butcher. As they sizzled over the fire, the smell would call Ever back, as faithfully as an echo.
Sitting at the flame’s edges, draped in a blanket, she would let her sausage get slightly crackly and burnt before eating it. Only once had she burned her tongue bad enough to pause, but a sip of cool beer sent her back for more.
Afterward, her eyes would get heavy, and she would let her world cozily tilt into darkness. At the end of the evening, her mother would smooth her hair, and her father would murmur, “good to see you again kid.”…as he always did. And Ever would think she dreamt it when she awoke the next morning, an orphan again, with tea cooling over embers.
The recipe can be found here: Grilled Beer Brats with Peppers and Onions