It was her yoga mat. In a very general way, you could accuse Emma Hopkins for being a clean person, although one could easily disperse such thoughts by getting a good whiff of the atrocious rolled up foam rubber tucked under her arm. In a world where everything is under a constant magnifying glass, you would see her armpit scream vomiting.
No one talked about it, even though they wanted to. When a stench like that rolls up on you, you want to talk about it, and a lot. It’s the literal reeking elephant in the room. But when the stink is attached to a human being, there is an ethical code where if one can’t say something nice, you say nothing and quickly excuse yourself. The ambiguity of what to say created a decisive wall between Emma and her peers. As far as that went, she was good with it.
That mat was much more than the thing that separated her body from the floor, much more than a security blanket. It was a retrospective of all the sweat, juices, and occasional blood that made her what she was today. A yoga enthusiast.
Emma knew the truth beneath this convenient veneer. She knew the mat stunk. How could she not? The interesting aroma had more personality than most of her friends. Unlike her friends though, it saved the life of her father. Upon finding her father hunched over, unconscious, barely breathing at the kitchen table, she stuffed the mat under his nose. He was immediately resuscitated back to life, although he remains cross-eyed. One day she hopes to bottle the essence of the mat and market it as “the new smelling salt”.