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Walking down Pitt St, there was a woman just ahead in a pale gold cami and some stylishly faded dark gray jeans. She would have remained an unmemorable part of the flows of foot traffic had she not blown a puff of sweet cigarette smoke directly into my downstream nostrils. Instantaneously, and for a few metres, I was transported to the streets of Manhattan, walking past a mid-town juicery packed with lunchtime crowds, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the summer tourist season. I could see Central Park just ahead, except that I couldn't because I was actually hot-footing it towards Circular Quay and could just imagine the Bridge up ahead if squinting enough.

I had been talking to a friend earlier that same day about the power of smell. About how scent can give identity, emotion, belonging. The stinkiest member of our family took dog-smell to the next level. But when she had a bath, I had moments feeling like she had disappeared even when her curled up shape snuggled inside m…

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