Sun cream. It holds the entire aroma of summer within its bottled walls. Squeezing out a cream blob onto my palm, I’m immediately transported back to Summers past.
My mind flickers and I’m five on a beach in Cornwall. My Mum’s fingers thick with cream, smearing them hurriedly across my face, as I protest, trying to shake her off so that I can run naked into the sea.
And then I’m sixteen, sitting in a cafe in Washington DC, sipping on a ice cold bubble tea as I wilt and swoon under the sun’s beating. My face red and flustered.
And then I’m twenty-two, lying on a boat bobbing along on the Amalfi coast, gazing up at the cliffs of Capri, in awe of it’s undeniable beauty, recovering from a jellyfish sting.
It’s that single whiff of sticky, suffocating cream that I annually coat my skin in – in an effort to prevent the contraction of some hideous carcinoma – that has the power to throw me back in time. Back in time to when the weather is fine. To when my hair grows blonder and my skin less translucent. To when I lie in bed watching the trees dance in the early morning glow of that golden orb in the bluest of skies.