This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
“You want me to what?!?” I stared in disbelief at my new friend.
“Just tell me if it smells okay.” Caught off guard, I warily leaned forward and breathed in. A disgusting aroma reached my nose, causing me to cough involuntarily. “So this one’s a no?” he asked uncertainly. I looked up at him and back at the Just For Men’s Glacier Fresh deodorant.
“Um, it kinda reminds me of old guys…. you know, that farty smell?” The old guy looking at the toothpaste gave me an annoyed look and moved on to the toothbrushes.
Sighing, Jake put the Glacier Fresh back on the shelf and stepped back to take in the ridiculously vast array of men’s deodorant. As he studied his choices, I looked at him again. Jake is the very essence of the photographer that he is. A skinny guy wearing square, wire-rimmed glasses with hair that stood straight up, he is just tall enough to reach the top shelf. It was from the top shelf that he pulled the next stick of deodorant to thrust at me. His eyes anxiously searched my face as I sniffed the rancid stuff.
I tried to break it to him gently, “Well, this one isn’t so hot either… but there’s definitely less of a grandpa smell.” The old guy at the toothpaste heaved a grumpy snort and pushed past us to the vitamins in the next aisle. Jake turned again to face the looming shelf of products with a determined expression.
Afraid of interrupting his intense concentration, I whispered, “So why am I smelling your deodorant anyway?” I certainly hadn’t planned on choosing deodorant for a guy I barely knew! We were here to get my senior pictures printed. Pictures that he had taken with his camera weeks ago. While in the photo department, he vaguely mentioned needing to pick up few things and the next thing I knew, we had landed in men’s-deodorent-ville. You can never truly understand how large Walmart’s deodorant section is until you are forced to smell each individual container. Now Jake explained why I was smelling his deodorant as if it was the most obvious reason in the world. “I’m driving up to see Lisa this weekend and she likes it when I smell all-you-know… and you’re a girl so you can tell me what smells good.” Confused, I tilted my head heavenward and squinted in the bright florescent lighting.
“But didn’t you just tell me that she dumped you last week?” Again he sighed and gazed at the endless sea of deodorant.
“Yeah, but I really think that she’s making a mistake. It would be our two year anniversary this Saturday and I’m taking her out to dinner.” It was my turn to sigh. This Lisa chick had no idea how lucky she was to have such a great guy. I mean not only was he driving four hours just to take her to dinner, but he was altering his preference of personal hygiene items just to make her happy. Jake held out another deodorant. I sniffed compliantly. I was greeted with a spicy, musky smell that reminded be of some boy I couldn’t quite remember.
“Bingo.” Jake’s whole face relaxed into a grin.
When we were walking towards the checkout, I noticed that Jake had fallen behind to look at -- you guessed it -- more deodorant. He looked at me with a question in his eyes.
“NOOO,” I stated firmly, “my nose is about to fall off and what you have is fine so lets get out of here before you buy all of them!”
“Okay, okay!” he laughed as he hurried to catch up. On our way out of the aisle, I glanced back to see the grumpy old guy sneaking a sniff of the Old Spice display.