If my life played out before me, every other image would be of chocolate, with maybe the occasional pork chop thrown in between. I’m completely powerless around the dark art of chocolate, and that’s why there’s none of it in my house.
For a lot of people, the thought of a block of chocolate is nothing more than a pleasant treat. “You really don't care for chocolate?" I remember asking my future husband while we dated. When he simply answered, “Nope,” I didn’t know how to react. Was this a good or bad thing? I quickly made one very important realization — there would be more chocolate for me.
When it comes to chocolate, I’ve been deceptive, conniving and oftentimes desperate, but I’ve never felt the least bit guilty about these enjoyable acquisitions — except for maybe a teensy bit this one time back in 1984 when I was in college.
My roommate was head over heels in love with a man who was not in love with her. She had another man who was head over heels in love with her, but she wasn’t in love with him. I know, a familiar story. On Valentine's Day, she waited for the one she loved to remember her.
And waited and waited. And then finally left for work in the early evening, brokenhearted that no gift had arrived from her heart's desire. I was in for the night and was quite happy that I didn’t have boyfriend, who would ultimately disappoint me. I'd just settled down to watch the movie of the week when our apartment doorbell rang. I saw through the peephole that it was the boy my roommate did not care for. I also saw a large, shiny, red foil box in his arms.
I let him in.
We talked for a while, as I suspiciously eyed the heart-shaped box. “Well,” I finally said, “she'll be gone for a good long time. Why don't you just leave, the, um ... box, here for her.” I tried to sound as nonchalant and dismissive as possible.
He set the box of chocolates on the table and then split.
It took me all of three seconds to rationalize why those chocolates should be mine. The most salient point being, “Wrong guy, wrong chocolates. Ergo — right for me!”
I promised myself that I’d only eat one piece. Fifteen minutes later, just two more. An hour later, it really didn't matter if I ate all the dark chocolate ones. By midnight, half the box was gone. I shuffled the empty paper cups around to fluff up the now vacant side of the box.
I am not an uncaring person; the truth was, I was only thinking of my roommate’s feelings. Chocolates from the wrong person would just make her even sadder about not getting sweets from the one she was sweet on. It was my duty as a concerned roommate and friend to get rid of all the chocolate, and save her from further heartache.
As I'm sure you've surmised, I polished off the box of chocolates. I would deal with any fallout later.
When she came home later that night and saw the empty box, she was pissed off — more, I believe, that the chocolates came from the wrong guy rather than the fact that I ate them all.
To this day, I tell myself that I was just protecting a friend from the pain of a disappointed heart. And I usually tell myself this while eating chocolate.