Emily’s Chocolate Paradise

Emily, it’s funny how you made your way into the ruins of my mind. Today, you must’ve squeezed your way through the cracks in the window. Damn. I need to get those fixed. I thought my days were over thinking about you, but I was wrong. Father Time mended these scars years ago… guess Mother Nature has other plans. This time, the messenger was a light breeze, carrying the sweet scent of chocolate. You filled my home once again, silencing the sounds of a jackhammer destroying the blacktop. While I was glad that you always made us feel like the only two people in the world, this time I dread the thought of you. And listening to the road shatter, would’ve been much better than choking on a resuscitating memory, that’s crushing my chest and steeling my breath. The cold modest breeze, a medium that’s dusting off the ruins of a bitter love, sending a refrigerated chill into your chocolate paradise.

Remembering the first time we met is standing right in front of me, except you’re not smiling. You weren’t afraid of anyone, no matter what face they’re wearing. That day, I happened to throw on my grumpy old man face, that I borrowed from my father. But…Nooo, that didn’t stop you from sitting down right next to me. Every day we had class, and without fail, you’d say hello. And that smell. I can never forget that smell. I swore you bathed in chocolate. Once you were settled in your seat, the first thing you did was pull out a big bag of Hershey Kisses and asked if I wanted any. Eventually, after four weeks, I gave in. I’m a sucker for sweet things.

Why do we go back to the first day we ever met someone special, and forget about all the misery that follows? I think you were supposed to teach me how to be a better person. How cliché! But what I’ve learned, was something completely different. I never thought I’d gag at the smell of chocolate, and when I look back, our timeline was based on two chocolate aromas. Milk chocolate was a reminder of our best times, and then somewhere along the line, it turned bitter dark. And now, when I walk down the candy aisle, I see the kisses, but their words have changed. And the last words I hear, is spoken through a Hershey Kiss. Only this time, it’s not blowing me one, it’s telling me to kiss something.

Hindsight

Jake’s decision to take a stroll around his old stomping ground, was out of impulse. First, he takes a swig out of his pint of Jack. When impulse strikes, his desire never disappears. It only festers inside. Scratching at the door of his heart. Leaving him with regret. There was a time in Jake’s life, where he would suppress all emotion, and his health started to suffer. Not sure which is worse, the voyeur inside, or the following eyes of society, who waits to pass judgment. He walked the same path when he was a kid. This time, his heartbeat was online with his steps, like a child banging wildly on a drum. The fear to face his old friends passed with each shot of liquor. Each one went down easier and easier.

As Jake walks between the red brick twin homes, each one looking just like the other. Jake’s jumping fences, walking through driveways, and running from the neighborhood dogs, he begins to wonder. How will this encounter play out? What he learned from his time in combat, was that predictability was a part of failure. And, failure was never an option. Especially, after he left the old neighborhood. Breaking every bond, he ever had.
Good old suburbia, nothing changes. When he approached his childhood friend’s home. Adam was out front, spreading seeds in no order. Just randomly roaming, mumbling, looking up to the first-floor window, where the woman in blonde was standing. She was shaking her head side to side, and if looks could kill. Eyes cold, arms crossed, and she began to pace, working up steam.
“Hey Adam!”

Adam turns around squinting in his old military style glasses, that were brown and black that has a squared look. A person can burn ants with those lenses. His hair was long brown and had curls that started in the back of his head. His face looked beat down, cracks in forehead, protruding to the frames of his hideous glasses.

“Who is that?”
“It’s me, Jake…Jake Stroll.”
“Hey man, what’s going on? It’s been a long time.” Adam replies with a hint of recollection.
“Not much, just got back into town a couple weeks ago. What’s up with you?”
“Spreading seeds and just waiting for the rain.”
Adam glances back up to the window, but the blonde woman was gone. Adam’s face dropped, like the past just snuck up, and slapped him in the face.

“Is everything ok?” Jake asked, as he starts to rock back and forth.
“Everything’s fine. So…What have you been doing with your life?”
“I joined the military, got released. Went to prison for a couple of years. Now…Well now I’m back. For a little, anyway. Is that your wife in da window?”
“Yeah, something like that. She’s carrying a stick up her ass, as usual. Want a beer or something?”
“Na, I’m good.”
The front door cracks open, followed by a grunt.
“Hey Adam! When your done playing with your friend, we need to talk.”
“Ok, be right there.”
“You gotta go?” asks Jake.
“No. Be right back.”

Jake glances back up to the window, and Adam’s wife was standing still, arms dropped down to her sides. Staring at Jake with familiarity. There was a moment in time, when Jake may have recognized her, but since his time in combat, the past seems to have gotten swallowed up. Adam was the only friend he could remember, and even that history is a bit faded. The sound of shattering glass made its way through the house, breaking the barriers. Then another one, and another. Jake quickly looks up to the window, and the woman was gone. Everything went silent, and Adam pushes open the front door, and in a panic.

“Jake, get over here.”
“What’s going on in there? Celebrating?” Jake asks, trying to make light of a situation.
“Very funny, but seriously, I need your help.”
“First, you need to tell me what I’m walking into. I told you that I just got out of prison. Are you trying to put me back in there?” Jake hesitates and starts stutter stepping his way to the stairs, mumbling…This is a bad idea What are you doing You idiot. He stops at the bottom of the stairwell and spots a hand sprawled out through the threshold of the door. “I don’t know man. What happened?”
“Promise me something.” Adam stares down Jake, straight through his heart, cutting through the tension of a screaming heartbeat.

(To be continued)