While balancing on the wooden foot stool, I reach into the pantry and make contact with the sleek package.
“A few hundred calories for my arse,” I say with a nonchalant shrug.
Ever since giving up the cigarettes, I’ve tried to avoid the usual food traps. It’s the story of my life. Food. Fat. Diets…The effect of each on my libido and self confidence.
As painful as memories are, my hidden chocolate block forces them to retreat to the background like jittery marionettes.
Within my hands, the paper covered block acts like a sedative to quell any doubt I have about stuffing the blocks into my mouth to avoid the obvious (‘Where is Paul?’ Why, Paul’s at work. Yes, it’s 9 p.m.), that my life has transcended novelty and entered the dismal zone of mortgage flavoured routine.
Have you ever asked yourself if you’re living to exist or exist to live or…I’m confused. Lately, I lay in bed fantasising about becoming Sleeping Beauty, sans prince. Princes may exist in faraway societies, but I won’t be proposed to by a blue blooded heir, with a potential recessive gene disorder.
I unwrap the block. The aluminium foil crackles and I wonder if that tinny noise acts as a Pavlovian stimulus. My conditioned response, to rip off the foil and break off the first small block, overpowers my logic.
Less than five seconds later and chocolate caresses the tip of my tongue, covering each taste bud with a fine film of sugar, cocoa and various oils that I’m hopeless remembering. I know that it tastes heavenly, that my head is swirling and I feel like I’ve had a five second equivalent to intimacy. It’s not the real thing, but I step off the footstool feeling elated. The feeling lasts five seconds. Then I get off the stool, I take a seat.
One block at a time, I pop each small chocolately morsel and loll it around my mouth until it slowly melts. Sweet melted chocolate coats the roof of my mouth like soft velvet. I’m all of happy for five more minutes. Then the idea of fatness barges in and a mental siege unfolds. I’m desperately trying to shift the focus. Thou shalt not feel guilt over three rows of chocolate. My arse begs to differ.
If Paul were here, he’d argue against my illogical points, sprouting stuff like “I married you, not your arse” and the politically correct “Real men like real arses.” What men didn’t realise is that we understood that men didn’t care. Sure, they made out that taut boyish buttocks turned them on, but if they had a choice between getting sex and a slightly flabby arse, they’d take the sex.
What Paul, and the others, didn’t get was the juggernaut that is advertising and social conditioning. Honestly, I tried to eliminate the negative ‘fat arse’ mental chatter, but it flooded my mind and it kick started other thoughts. Suddenly I remembered my jeans and the fact that summer was a hop, skip and a jump away. To some, four months was enough time to overhaul their butts in gyms. To me, it felt like a week.
Sweet food is my weakness. Artificial sweeteners don’t make the cut during the pre-menstrual countdown. Once monthly, I stocked up on chocolate bars, blocks or biscuits. I’ve often joked about fellatio and chocolate. I can live without fellatio, but add chocolate and I’ll gladly perform deep throat.
After the chocolate disappears into the recesses of my belly, life returns to normal. I return to the living room, switch on the large screen television and hope to catch American reruns: Get Smart, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie…something that is devoid of neurotic single women dissecting their relationships faster than Dr Kay Scarpetta dissecting a cadaver. Life in the televised 50’s and 60’s didn’t revolve around chasing and bedding the ultimate lover or financial tycoon.
The hours whittled by. I even found myself laughing and Barbara Eden calling Larry Hagman ‘master.’ There weren’t any sordid sexual undertones between Barbara and Larry. They were living in sin without living in sin. He may have been her master, but Genie got her way.
I dozed on the sofa. Then Paul walked in, assuming I’d been waiting up for his arrival and a daily summation of his activities, just after 4.
To describe Paul…