Denise loves dark chocolate, and sometimes she saves the foil wrappers. Will she save Ted’s?
Denise had a bowl of those little foil-wrapped chocolate eggs on her kitchen counter, the ones in pastel colors that you often see at Easter. These were dark chocolate. Ted picked one out of the bowl; it had lavender-colored foil.
She smiled. “I only buy the dark chocolate kind. Dark chocolate’s better for you. I read that somewhere. But I don’t care about that part. I just like the taste of dark chocolate. It’s a little sweet, and a little bitter, and sort of dusty-musty. It’s delicious.”
Ted was struggling with the foil, trying to find an end where he could peel it off.
“Here, let me show you. There’s a trick.”
“Yes, a trick. Look at both ends. One is smoother, the other is rougher. That’s the end where the foil wraps back onto itself. That’s where you have to start peeling.”
“Okay, now softly scrape across that end with your fingernail. No, not that one, use the nail on your middle finger, the middle of it.” She saw his confused expression. “Trust me, it will work better.”
“Yes. Now, scrape carefully, you’ll find where there’s a little piece of foil that’ll pry up. Try not to tear the foil.”
He rubbed the edge of his middle fingernail across the foil at the rougher end of the egg, and sure enough, he found an edge of the foil and it lifted away from the rest of the foil, but just a little.
“Good. Now carefully pull that piece away from the egg. What you want to do is peel it away little by little as you work around the body of the egg until you find a corner, then you can start pulling the foil away from the chocolate. But be careful, you want to peel it off all in one piece.”
“Why do I want to do that?”
“Mmm... I don’t know exactly how to say it, but it adds to the whole thing of peeling away the foil so it’s in one piece, exposing the chocolate little by little. It’s like finding a treasure chest and picking the lock so you can open it. Doing it that way makes finding the chocolate even more delicious, taking all the time you need to unwrap it so none of the chocolate is scraped away with the foil so you have all of the chocolate to look at and then enjoy when you eat it.”
Ted looked at Denise and smiled. Her eyes were a deep, dark, dark brown, just like dark chocolate. She grinned and looked down at the chocolate egg, and Ted followed her gaze. He carefully pulled at the foil with edge of his middle fingernail, pulling it away from the egg, working around the end until he found a corner, then carefully pulling it as he worked from that end of the egg to the other. Finally the dark chocolate egg was fully exposed, sitting in the middle of the rectangular piece of foil. It was silver colored inside and lavender colored outside. He looked up at her and smiled.
“I guess I get to eat the treasure now?”
Ted lifted the egg off the foil and popped it into his mouth. He rolled it around on his tongue, savoring the flavor as its exterior slowly melted. He didn’t chew it; that would have ended the pleasure too quickly. Instead he let it melt until there was nothing left. There was almost nothing to swallow; it was as if the chocolate had been absorbed into his tongue.
He looked back at the rectangle of foil in his hand, then at her. “What do I do with the foil?”
She reached over and took the foil from his hand. She carefully unfolded the bits of the edges that were bent back on itself, then rubbed the foil so it was flat, but not smooth; it looked like it would be impossible to smooth out all of the wrinkles in the foil. When this was done, she looked at him.
“I save them. The foils. I’m not sure why I do it. I just like keeping them. Sort of how some people like to collect stamps, I like to collect the foils from chocolate eggs. But only the kind that are from dark chocolate eggs.”
She looked to see if Ted’s expression showed that he thought this was strange, or even weirder than strange, but she could tell that he didn’t think it was strange at all, so she smiled.
“Good. Now I’ll have one.”
Now it was Ted’s turn to watch her unwrap a chocolate egg. She picked one that had cyan colored foil, a rich blue with a touch of green. She didn’t rush, she took about as much time unwrapping the foil as he had, and made sure it was in one piece.
He was curious about how she collected her pieces of foil. “Do you keep the foils in an album? Do you keep the ones that visitors open or only the ones you open? Do you keep the ones that get a hole in them or are torn? Do you write the dates on them or next to them?”
“Mmm... let’s see...” She grinned, looked upward, and took her chin between her thumb and forefinger. “Most of them I keep in a little Tiffany’s box that’s just the right size. I do have an album. It’s one I got at a camera store, the kind of photo album that has clear plastic on each side of black pages. You can put pictures, or foil from dark chocolate eggs, under the plastic, and when you rub the plastic against the page it holds everything in place.”
She stopped for a moment, as if she was trying to remember his questions. “I keep the ones that I’ve opened at a celebration, like at a birthday party or at Christmas. Sometimes I keep the ones a visitor has opened, but only if it’s a special visitor and a special occasion. It doesn’t make any difference if it has a little tear or a hole, it’s the remembrance that counts. I have a pen with silver ink, and I write the date and the event and the names of the people on the black album page next to the foil. Sometimes if I have a picture from the celebration, or of the visitor who opened the foil, I’ll put it on the page next to the foil.”
The foil from the egg that Ted had opened lay on the counter, and he touched it. “Will you put this one in your album?”
“Why?” He grinned. “Is this a celebration or a special occasion, or am I a special visitor?”
She smiled. “It’s a special occasion. Meeting you. You’re a special visitor.” She rubbed the top of his finger that still touched the foil. “Definitely a special occasion with a special visitor.”
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