The summer I turned ten I smelled jasmine everywhere I went. At first I thought the smell was part of the normal world, because we were having a hot spell that July, and every night it rained and the flowers were in full bloom. So I didn’t pay much attention, except, after a while, I noticed I smelled jasmine in the bath, and my dreams were full of it, and when, one day, I cut my palm on a piece of glass, my blood itself was scented, and I started to feel scared and also good.
That was one world, and I called it the jasmine world. I didn’t know, then, that epilepsy often begins with strange smells, some of which are pleasant, some of which are not. I was lucky to have a good smell. Other people’s epilepsy begins with bad smells, such as tuna fish rotting in the sun, dead shark, gin and piss; these are just some of the stories I’ve heard.
My world, though, was the jasmine world, and I told no one about it. As the summer went on, the jasmine world grew; other odors enetered, sometimes a smell of burning, as though the whole house were coming down.
Which, in a way, it was. There were my mother and my father, both of whom I loved—that much is true—but my father was too small, my mother too big, and occasionally, when the jasmine came on, I would also feel a light-headedness that made my mother seem even bigger, my father even smaller, so he was the size of a freckle, she higher than a house, all her hair flying.
from Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, by Lauren Slater