The smell of soup. Good soup, clean soup, the soup of childhood sick days spent at home on the couch watching cartoons. Mom in the kitchen, cleaning, cooking, watching, out of the corner of her eye, her child in unsolicited misery, silent on the sofa. She makes soup. Chicken stock, noodles, carrots diced so finely they may as well be food coloring. She stirs the pot and watches, waits, anticipating that moment when the scent of the simmering solution wafts far enough into the living room that the child is distracted from his illness and the flashing colors of the television.
“Mom? Is that soup?”
Yes, of course, she responds, bowl at the ready, ladle filled to the brim.
“Can I have some?”
Yes, of course, she responds, halfway to the living room. She carries the soup like treasure, not a drop lost, and sets it before the child, a white napkin square settled to the left, spoon on the right.
“Thank you, Mom.”
She watches as he delicately drafts a spoonful. Carefully, he pulls it to his lips, blowing once, twice, then downs the hot broth. A grimace at first – too hot! – but providing the perfect warmth as it settles into the empty stomach, soothes the tired throat, opens the anguished sinuses. He pauses a moment, then dips the spoon in once more.
He’ll get better, she thinks. The worst has passed. If he can eat soup, he’ll survive.
The smell of soup. The memory of illness and recovery. The memory of days wrapped in blankets on the couch. The memory of Mom, watching, doting, loving, silently concerned, effortlessly attentive.
They should make a Glade plug-in that smells like soup.