The Scent of a Stranger

Dirty, disgusting and smelly. Feel free to judge me; I deserve it.

I woke up around 1:30 in the morning with the scent of a strange man all over my body. I have no idea what this man’s name is. All I know is what he smells like. Even after showering, I can still smell him all over me.

It is my fault, my sin. I still haven’t told my husband about this but I know he’ll understand. He knows how impatient and impulsive I can be.

Last night, I was shopping with my oldest daughter. She needed new jeans and my husband wanted a new pair of warm pajamas. While Jocelyn shopped in the teen section, I ventured to the men’s section and quickly found a pair on the clearance rack for $19.99. They were Jesse’s size and I knew he’d look good in them so I bought them.

When I got home, I took my nighttime shower. I toweled off, moisturized and dried my hair. Instead of crawling into my own jammies, which are actually my husband’s sweatpants and college sweatshirt, I decided to wear the jammies I just bought him. I couldn’t resist. They looked so warm and inviting. Jesse is still in Las Vegas for work so he wouldn’t need them for another week. I told myself he’d appreciate it if I broke them in for him.

I got into bed; sleepy, comfortable and content. I said “good night” to my kids, and talked to my husband on the phone before falling asleep. That’s our custom when one of us is out of town. I didn’t tell him about the new pajamas. He went to bed thinking I was sleeping in what I always sleep in, the old orange and greys sweats.

I’ve been wearing Jesse’s sweatshirt and sweatpants to bed every winter for 17 years. Time for a change?

I startled awake at 1:30 a.m. It wasn’t a loud noise that woke me up; it was a strange smell. I immediately realized I was wearing dirty pajamas. Those nightclothes I bought on clearance had obviously been worn by a heavily-cologned man before being returned. My God, they reeked and so did I.

Still do. I can’t get this strange man’s smell off of me.

I should have known better. I worked in retail for six years. I know full well that people frequently return merchandise after they wear it. And I know you’re supposed to wash the clothes once you get home. I know about cooties, COVID and chemicals. But last night, I was selfish.

And cold, lazy and tired. I saw my husband’s pajamas and ignored all the warning signs. Let my mistake be a lesson to you all: Wash your clothes after you buy them, before you wear them!

I’ll tell Jesse about it tonight when we have our ritual “good night talk.” But now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish laundering my sheets, blankets and new jammies. Thank you for reading! -Connie

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