“Good morning Mr. Blackburn, my mum made these chocolates for you!”
I looked up from my desk to see the sunny smile of Jessica brightening up my coffee-less morning. In her hand – as it was the socially acceptable body part – she was holding a small, cellophane bag of lightly dusted chocolate truffles, each sitting in their own little case.
“Why thank you, Jessica!” I exclaimed, pleasantly surprised and quite touched by this generous little handmade gift.
It was the last day of the school year and so was customary for the children to bring in gifts for the teachers. I had been a student there for 5 weeks, but had spent the last 5 weeks doing on and off supply work and volunteering when I had tired of my games console. Today saw me in volunteer mode, and because I actually wanted to be there to say goodbye to the children I had taught and worked with, some of whom I would probably never see again, not because I had nothing better to do. Seriously, sometimes I am a decent human being.
Jessica beamed with genuine pride at being part of a family so filled with largesse as she made her way out of the classroom and back towards her own. I set the chocolates down on the desk beside me and filled out my timesheet.
That was my stomach. I had not had breakfast or coffee and I was beginning to notice.
Now my empty stomach had received the message through the nerve-ending hotline that chocolates had entered into my possession. I looked at the bag, staring deeply at the dark, mottled brown of the slightly irregular shaped chocolate content. They looked good; rich and delicious. My mouth began to water as I imagined biting into one. It was foolish of me to do so. I was well within my rights to eat one, they had been given to me with that express intention, how rude would I appear if I did not sample one?
Deciding that my flawless and logical rhetoric as poignant and powerful as anything penned by Richard Dawkins needed no further deliberation, I broke the little sticky-tape label sealing the tempting treats from dust and wayward fingertips. I unrolled the cellophane with a satisfying melodious crinkle, evoking memories of innocent delight, and calling to mind images of winged cherubs on fluffy clouds playing golden, singing harps and growing elegant rainbows from enchanted fields and before I could think of another unnecessary simile, my fingers had fondled deep into the bag, recovered a wonky chocolate sphere and placed it into my mouth.
O. M. G.
If you thought that the above description of the crinkling cellophane was little more than gratuitous hyperbole, you had perhaps skip this next section. My teeth broke into the soft, outer shell releasing a wave of nostalgic emotion across my tongue, tingling and tantalising every single taste bud thereon, tricking me into forgetting that today I am pseudo-working, but instead was drifting on a legion of fully trained, expert, gentle hands belonging to beautiful, female aromatherapists, whilst being sung to by Emily Kinney towards a paradise seldom imagined outside of the greatest poetic minds and those who are addicted to psychedelic narcotics. I was engulfed, enveloped, entranced by the transient nature of this experience, this sensation, this ethereal, corporeal ecstasy that lit up my mouth in the way that the sun lights up everything except midnight.
Once devoured and the first truffle rested longingly in my stomach, I had to ensure that it would not be bored or lonely and so without any undue hesitation I quickly, easily and without any feeling of guilt began to experience the chocolate induced paradise trip for a second time. Suddenly, I realised that I had consumed approximately 30% of the packet, and after some quick mental mathematics realised that I had only 70% remaining. Fearing a fate equal to that of running out of chocolate, I sealed the packet and secreted it away so that I may not consume anymore until later that evening when I would wear my sexiest underwear, put on a romantic music compilation CD and sing seductively to my confectionary whilst perhaps doing a sensual dance comprising of scarves, silk, and potato salad.
The day was arduous. I craved to taste the chocolate, displaying all the symptoms of a person who was been too long without a fix of his or her precious: excessive perspiration, irritability, agitated, stomach cramps, nausea, aversion to human interaction, considering theft of family jewellery, and a need to watch daytime talk shows on television. Every time I saw Jessica I felt like she was laughing at me as if she knew and I wanted to just punch her unnecessarily happy little face to tears and tantrums. I found enough distraction however, in the jovial little assembly that the children put on, handing out certificates to their favourite teachers and neglecting me, even though they commented on my hair and even called it certificate worthy. Not that I’m bitter.
At last the end of the day came and the commotion that ensued as the little monsters raced to the exit and said goodbye to their teachers happened. I myself felt pangs of emotion as I watched the older ones leave to begin new lives in a different school and with different friends, starting a terrifying and exhilarating new journey. I said my goodbyes, climbed into my red automobile and drove home over the winding hills and valleys that were common throughout this part of the county.
Twenty-five minutes passed, and in my concentration and determination to arrive home I didn’t change the CD that had played three times on a loop but was still proving pretty enjoyable. Home at last after almost half an hour of travelling and it was time to walk that road to paradise once more. I prepared the room as I imagined: sultry tones of R&B singers wafting through the room comparable to a scent only Aphrodite herself could have managed to blend; my best boxer shorts donned; vocal exercises practiced. Now, the art of seduction was about to begin. I reached into my pocket for the chocolate and found…
Not. A. Thing.
In the commotion of the end of the day I had left my chocolates in the secret place and in my eagerness to return home I had neglected to retrieve them from their lodgings. I was without, and my soul yearned and burned for absolution. Alas there was none forthcoming. The chocolate would be locked inside the school for six weeks, and therefore nothing short of a split-second accurate bank heist would need to be planned. Instead I composed a dirge, sat by a nearby river and sang the haunting, aching lament across the water, hoping for the current to carry away my pain forever more.
© Kris Blackburn 23/07/2015