It was as both Sam and Nick were in middle school, a year apart, that I first found the need to buy AXE and spray it profusely in their shoes any time they weren’t on their feet. After a year or so, the stinky shoe smell became less noticeable, actually I think it was still noticeable, it was just that I was more accustomed to it as time progressed. That was when each morning before heading off to school, Sam began to pick up the AXE spray can out of his cabinet stash in the kitchen and spray it from head to toe. It was amusing and Nick and I noticed and commented on this morning ritual from time to time.
As second year of high school began it was when Nick and I noticed Sam’s then love for AXE because not only was the once from head to toe not appropriate anymore, it was once from head to toe, clean shoes with shoe cleaner, spray head to toe again, and then just as it was time to head out the door, grab the can for one more circular all-over spray in case some area might have been missed the first or second time. That was when Nick would say, through the smell that lingered stiffly in the air, “Sam, stop spraying the AXE. You’ve but it on enough already.” That of course did not deter Sam if he thought he had one more moment before heading out the door because he would do a second circular all-over spray one more time after he had his book bag on his back. Sam’s ways filled our hearts with love as it was the simple things of what we know about one another in our family that cried out to us, family… love… and we thought it would be that way forever, until it wasn’t.
We lost Sam just over a year ago to a synthetic drug called 25i-NBOMe. As last school year was ending without Sam, the most notable to me each morning was the silence as now Nick prepared for school alone each morning and I got up to be there with him any way I could… but no more morning episodes of AXE scent thick in the air. And this school year, in moderation, Nick sprays cologne on each morning, we talk quietly and the drive to school no longer includes the smell of AXE but holds an unusual silence. #muchlovetosam