First Love

chocolate cakeMy first love was a dark, handsome American. His name was Hershey—Hershey Bar. No mere childhood crush, chocolate and I still enjoy a long-term relationship, only now with more refined Swiss varieties.

Call me odd, but at my house Christmas doesn’t end until all the chocolate is gone. Some years the holiday extends well into spring, when Easter chocolate takes over. Don’t tell my priest, but I gave up Lent for chocolate. I always wish that chocolate bunnies could multiply like real ones, except for hollow chocolate bunnies, which leave deep emotional scars. I mean, you think they’re solid and you bite in, but there’s nothing there but a profound sense of emptiness with a slight after-taste of despair.

My love affair with chocolate does have some blowback. I’m not a math whiz, but can someone please explain how eating one pound of chocolate makes me gain three pounds? And how does it know to migrate to my hips? Is it instinct, like birds flying south for the winter?

You might think that I spend a lot of time contemplating chocolate, and you’d be right. But chocolate calls my name—in English—which is strange, because it starts out in Spanish-speaking countries like Ecuador, then journeys to Switzerland where they speak French, German and a little Italian. But late at night I distinctly hear it say, “Pam, eat me. I’m thick and rich and I’ll raise your endorphins so high you’ll need a truck and ladder to get down.”

I was happy in my deliciously creamy world until the fateful day my husband also fell in love with chocolate and proposed a three way. When I refused, he went rogue. He found my secret stashes and made them disappear. I filed a missing chocolate report, but he denied any involvement. He uncovered the Kit-Kat I’d hidden behind the Windex bottle, the Cadbury bar I’d tucked in with the Bran Flakes, he even found the box of See’s I’d hidden beneath a bag of frozen broccoli. My one completely untouchable, “pilfer-proof” hiding place—the Tampon box—I’d had to abandon years earlier due to the onset of menopause.

My cravings overwhelmed me, yet in a house where chocolate frosting is considered a condiment, I couldn’t even find a pudding, which is just lazy chocolate that can’t pull itself together. Then, in the back of the pantry, I spotted a jar of Nutella, but when I opened it, all I found were clawing spoon marks. Having no remaining secret stash reminded me that Hell is a place with no chocolate. It’s just so wrong.

There was only one solution to this problem and it had two parts. First, replenish my chocolate supply and second—and this is the hard part—share it with my husband. To me this was the ultimate sacrifice because, frankly, I’d rather give him a kidney.

I’ll tell you, if chocolate made me smart instead of happy, by now I’d be brilliant. Or at least smart enough to have never told my husband about menopause.