Friday, August 29, 2008

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

When I was younger, I used to save gifts of chocolate or fancy bubble bath or perfume samples for some special time that was bound to strike upon me eventually—I would set these little luxuries aside (but still in plain view) and wait for a day significant enough to enjoy them. Those “special” days never seemed to come, and usually what ended up happening was that I’d be cleaning my room and notice the layer of dust covering the box of chocolate roses or the old perfume sample from Nordstrom and I’d think, “Eh, why not?” So I would douse my arm with the perfume or pop the candy into my mouth, only to run upstairs to the kitchen for a drink to wash out the taste of dust and chalky chocolate from my mouth, or make a run to the bathroom to rinse off my arm because either the perfume had never smelled good, or it had gone awry in the three years or so since I’d acquired it.

Halloween was the worst—I’d get my pillowcase full of goods, eat maybe ten or twelve of the Fun Size Snickers or Milky Way bars, and then I’d shove the rest in my closet for later . . . often one or two years later, when I would just take the whole sack (still bulging) and tilt it upside down over my white garbage can, cringing as I watched all the red-wrappered Kit Kats and the round caramel-apple suckers shimmer among old school assignments and brown banana peels. (Side note: Here is where I might start talking about the moment I realized I’m a bit of a self-righteous masochist, but I’ll refrain. Another time, maybe.)

It was the chocolate-covered strawberries that did it, though. I was a sophomore in high school, and my boyfriend at the time had given me (among other things) chocolate-covered strawberries from Mrs. Cavanaugh’s for Easter. Any normal, present-minded person with no aversion to chocolates or strawberries would have made sure that those were the first gifts attended to. But I’ve never been too present-minded (or normal), so I admired the complimentary green and pink Easter basket that they came in and fluffed the yellow grass inside (does anyone really even LIKE that grass?) and even allowed myself a heady whiff of sweet calorie-laden goodness before promptly displaying the basket on my shelf, where I would leave this particularly delectable delight until a day in the near-future when it was more needed: a night of celebration, maybe, or even just a day of self pity and loathing. Lucky for me, I don’t get depressed too often, but unlucky for me, this meant no chocolate-covered strawberries. Long story short—I waited much too long (to save myself embarrassment, I won’t specify how long), and when I finally allowed my teeth to squish into the berries, they had gone rancidly white and purple and I was left spitting the gooey remains into the kitchen sink.

I made a vow that day that whenever I got something I was tempted to save for some “special day” that never seemed to come, I would eat it, slather it, spray it, use it within the first 24 hours, because the sight of those milk- and white-chocolate-drizzled strawberries lying in the garbage bin amongst the carrot peelings and fish scales was just too much for such a sensitive heart to handle. Plus, quite frankly, I have simply let way too many expensive presents go to waste. Moral of the story: if anyone reading this cares to get me fat in a small amount of time, just give me the amount of chocolate in the number of pounds you’d like me to gain and don’t offer to help me eat it. Works like a lucky scrunchie. Or something like that.

This odd set of memories came to me yesterday while I was starting to head home after a long day of nothing but classes and studying—I caught myself thinking more than usual about things in the near or far future and how I already longed to get away from the hours spent each day in the back southeast corner of the library reading Mark Twain (not that I don’t love Mark Twain, but I’d rather not read him for four hours straight on an empty stomach). And then I remembered the chocolate-covered strawberries, and it made me stop (both physically and mentally) and look around at where I was. I happened to be next to the University Inn, where the gardens were all bursting with petunias and where the ivy covering the entire wall of the orifice was waving in the wind. I stood there with my neck awkwardly craned up and noted that patches of the ivy were randomly shaking (not in sync with the breeze), and as I sat there wondering about it, a whole host of sparrows started flying out from the wall, kicking up the leaves in their hurry and squawking at each other as if playing a raucous game of tag (or a steal-your-nest-twigs variation of it anyway). I felt like an idiot standing there staring (and people actually walked politely far back behind me, so as not to disturb my intense wall-watching), but I also felt relieved. Like I’d had a “moment.” And for the first time in awhile, that seemed like enough.

1 comment:

  1. Since I already commented on your facebook, I won't repeat what I already said here. I just wanted you to know that I was keeping up with your blog. Love you!

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