I was writing a silly story in my head the other day about turning my boyfriend into a soap snob. It didn't really go anywhere but it still makes me smile in its small, silly way.
I am a soap snob. I love handmade soaps, and pretty much won't use anything else these days. Every time I find myself in Anacortes I swing by the farmer's market and stock up on these lovelies. I spend way too much time browsing Etsy in pursuit of the next soap. Some have been awesome. Some have been iffy. Some are still on the ever-growing wish list.
And then there was the one that my boy deemed just about the perfect soap. I was not so secretly thrilled to have converted him into a soap connoisseur, and returned to this shop again to stock up on this particular body product perfection but only managed to snag two more (the woman had decided to move on to other endeavors and was selling off the last of her stock): one for our showers those last days before he left for greener, more western pastures; the other to be tucked into his backpack for use on the far side of his travels.
Two weeks ago he asked me for the shop link for the perfect soap and for some reason it made me sad to have to tell him there was no more. But I did have a recommendation for him (my new favorite bar, acquired during my summertime travels to his neck o' the woods at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op): Samish Bay's delicious lemongrass & oats soap.
I had forgotten about this exchange until, a week or so later, he told me a story about being out with a friend buying beer and finding himself wandering the soap aisle, having remembered my suggestion. And he found it! And what's been making me smile these last few days is the thought of us thousands of miles apart, hours and hours apart, using the same damned soap.
And the thing is, I've been feeling closer to my boy lately than I have in a long time. Not just because of the soap, obviously, but it's funny how this distance -- all these miles and miles and days and months of ambiguity -- may just prove to be a clarifying experience.
I was talking to a friend about this over Labor Day weekend, well before the soap -- about how I've been missing him more than I'd expected. She just smiled that shy, knowing smile of hers and said, "Well, that's a good thing, isn't it? Now at least you're sure."
I don't pretend to know what the future holds, or where any of us will be a year or two years or ten years from now. But I do know that I've found surprisingly sweet pleasure in having him ask me for soap advice, going to him for yarn advice, sharing our small daily tales of triumph and woe. And maybe, at least for now, that's enough.