A string of beeps hits in succession as the yogurt, fruit and cereal hit the conveyor belt. I am half-paying attention to the prices on the screen as my eyes dart at the text message I just received. My daughter is asking questions about what we are going to do next. With the items in the brown paper bag, I put my purse back on my shoulder and pause. The cashier, a teen boy, with glasses and a gel infused part in his hair, says to me, “Miss, I say this with the utmost respect. That perfume you are wearing reminds me of my aunt. Every time I smell that scent, it gives me comfort.” Smiling, I thank him.

This conversation happened a few days ago, but its content lingered in my mind. I thought about the various ways we think of comfort and how various smells, sights and tastes can transport us to a memory or place of comfort. For me, the smell of fresh hot roti (an Indian bread) immediately makes me think of my mom and how often she cooked them when we were growing up.  The visual of blue bonnets on a field makes me think about Texas and the spring we took pictures of our daughter playing. This evening I was transported to another place of true and genuine comfort.

Today (according to the Indian calendar) my father would have celebrated his seventy-seventh birthday. His favorite cake was German Chocolate. My sister, mom and I would sing Happy Birthday in our loud voices, while he prepared to take a bite of his cake. It was an annual ritual to gather around our dining table and take turns feeding the birthday “boy.” Today I was brought back to many celebrations. One of my very close friends, Kristie, surprised me by baking a German chocolate cake in honor of my father’s birthday month. The minute my eyes gazed at the cake I felt the comfort of those days in a small house in Texas.

Comfort. It comes from the most unexpected places.

A special thanks to my good friend Kristie for taking me back. Much love to you.