Sunday, September 24, 2006
The most romantic of presents was always dark chocolate. I don't know why, it just was.
I decided when I was fifteen that I would fall in love with someone who gave me a box of assorted dark chocolate. I wonder why it would be assorted if everything in the box was dark chocolate.
I will turn twenty two in ten minutes. A ritual I've followed for years, I go twenty one years, twenty three hours and fifty minutes back in time.
I went past the first day of school when mom stood by the window and waved, wondering if I would cry in the school bus while I looked at her through the greasy window of the bus, excited about my new yellow lunch box.
The time dad bought me a new pink bicycle.
The time I sold its wheels so I didn't have to ride it.
My first crush.
My first kiss.
And so on.
I went past the time I stared into space last year, on my twenty first birthday. When twenty one years seemed a life lived long enough – I had nothing more to unlearn, nothing more to lose. I sat alone, stared blankly at my TV screen in the dark. I liked its play of light on the wall.
It was my birthday. I was alone, and it mattered. I didn't want people(come to think of it, there were no people) barging into my living room with streamers and pineapple cake, and I switched off my phone in all my senses because I wanted to be the first one to wish myself. Maybe I feared no one would call.
But suddenly, I didn't feel that way any more. I wanted another voice outside my physical self to say “Happy Birthday, Rae.” And it would be a generous topping if he also added, “I love you.”
But I loved no one, and that hurt more than no one loving me.
I switched on my phone. This year, someone was going to wish me. His voice would ring from outside my mind, outside my body. I sneered at time and jeered at the year. I had won! I'd conquered! I am a victorious twenty-two year...
“HI!!!” He remembers!
“What you doin'?”
Then he said he was in love.
I listened, as I imagined him with a ribbon and a bow around his neck.
Time and the past year came closer, fell on their backs, rolled on my floor and laughed, snorted and farted in ugly mockery.
The clock struck twelve. I was twenty two.
“Kay is so amazing!”
“Yes. I know.”
“She's.. Rae, God bless you for bringing her to me!”
“You seem sleepy.”
“OK. Good night then. And Rae, thanks. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! LOVE YA!”
I put the phone down, very slowly, almost carefully and reached for the remote control. I switched on my TV. I'd stored Cartoon Network on 11. The Brain told Pinky he had to concoct a potion to put humans to sleep so he could rule the world. He said he would mix the potion with ice cream so it would be lavishly consumed all over the planet.
I am still thinking, dark chocolate.