We were standing in front of a massive heritage home. It was like a medieval castle, but with a touch of French flavour. The structure was over powering us. The noise from the busy traffic was no longer noticeable.
The agent came through the old heavy front door, and greeted us warmly.
“Before we start, I have to warn you. The current lady owner is unwell. She can hardly manage this house. The house is not in a crispy condition. You will find it dirty and untidy.”
That has explained the neglected yard, and the completely inaccessible side door, that was covered by overgrown grass, to the northern wing.
Children and I were following the agent from one room to another. Although we were seeing several cracks on the wall in quite a few rooms, we were deeply taken by the unique architecture of this otherwise splendid home.
Before the inspection, I was totally unsure how children would react to a strange looking, and run down home. Their reaction was like the house itself, nothing but extraordinary.
“Can we buy the house today?” Skye immediately asked after exiting the house. “This is where I want to live for the rest of my life except the Gahooulian Palace.”
“Can we move in tomorrow?” Thomas echoed Skye’s enthusiasm.
“No, dad hasn’t seen the house yet. He needs to like it too.” I am trying to slow down my own desire. We were unexpectedly feeling a strong attachment to the house.
“Aren’t three votes enough?”
“If dad doesn’t like it, he can stay where we are. We can come to live here with you.”
While I was driving home, the smell of the house came and went, again and again. I was not sure if the smell was real or synaesthetic. I asked kids if they could still smell the house, both said yes. I thought the smell must have got into our clothes.
My husband was unimpressed by my seemingly ridiculous action. “I know you want to buy a house closer to Skye’s school. That’s fine with me. But I didn’t expect you to drive 80KM to see some bloody mansion. There is no way we are going to move there!”
The next morning, I woke up thinking about the house again. The smell came back at the thought of the house. This time, I knew that I had developed the smell synaesthesia out of my real passion of this incredible property.
I have long suspected that I had a form of smell synaesthesia. The strongest synaesthetic smell I had was the smell of Australia.
I still remember the day when I first arrived Australia. Walking through the Melbourne Airport international terminal exit, I saw my brother in his light blue T-shirt waiting for me. I was wearing a yellow winter jumper and was surprised how hot the weather was.
As soon as we stepped out of the terminal building, my brother said loudly, “can you smell the fresh air? This is the smell of freedom!” His voice was full of excitement.
“Yes! I can smell it!” The air was so fresh. I smelt the freedom, and the new start of my life.
“Every time, I think about the first day arriving Australia, I smell this air. Whenever I think about freedom, I smell this smell!” We both laughed. We were so young and care free.
The first ten years living in Australia, just like what my brother said, I experienced almost the same sensation whenever I thought about freedom, fresh start, and above all, my new home country Australia. It was that beautiful and fresh scent mixed with slight moisture and air.
However, this sensation disappeared after a decade, probably because the experience was no longer new, and the feeling was not as intense as before.
Now thinking back, a dramatic life experience or change can trigger off my smell synaesthesia. I am wondering if other people have a similar experience. Is synaesthesia really in every person?
Four days since our inspection of the property, the strong smell perception remained with us. Skye experienced an extremely complicated sensation inside that house. He was encountering a dark feel of the nature traveling around. The texture was complex. On the other hand, he was tasting a relaxing meal he ate at the camp, with a much simpler quality.
My husband expects that we have forgotten about the house, and regained our sense. Unfortunately things are not that straightforward especially the smell of the house is hanging around us day and night.
“Mum, I want to live in the middle room, the one has the secret door to the old bathroom. Thomas, which room do you want to pick?”
“The same room. I will live in the same room.”
“What! You have 9 other bedrooms to choose from, why do you want to stay in the same room with me again?!!”
“Oh, just to annoy you.” Thomas replied seriously.
The domestic dispute between the husband and the wife, the elder brother and the younger brother, is continuing …