He’d read and been read books about poor people. Many times these stories took place in times long ago when poor didn’t mean you drove a lousy car, but that you had nothing but a few rags on your body and just a cup of hot dirty water to feed your family. These stories seemed to hopeless and dark, colourless. They were in grainy grays with many shadows.
Oh, but the poor were valiant. They didn’t just sit in doorways begging for change or for someone to buy their body for the evening, and if they did it was for a greater purpose that made them appealing, relate-able, noble, at least forgivable. They might steal, but we loved them so it was okay. Still, sweeter were the ones who were good. They were poor because they were down-trodden, not because they were morally corrupt. Their humanity would creep in by some other avenue, something tame and sweet, but enough for us to realize they weren’t perfect because perfect is less forgivable than whore.
Often enough that it was something that he could remember vividly, the main destitute character would somehow come across chocolate at some point in the story. Maybe they would be in a rich man’s house, he would catch the little boy or girl in their dirty rags and just when the reader would expect the white, fat aristocrat to smack the child across his or her dirty face, he’d give them a piece of chocolate.
At times this was the bounty from a quick and ever so innocent theft. Maybe it was from a little shop or, more often, an open air market. Of course, they would have the police on their tail for a short time, but soon be able to duck into an alley, behind an old carriage and open their package with a shaking hand.
It was this next description that usually had him lost in the fantasy of the moment. All the adventures of this little character would stop and all that would be left would be the mouth and one small piece of delicious chocolate. The author would describe the decadent pleasure of the milky delicacy as it melted slowly, sticking, sliding and coating every part of our hero’s mouth. He would imagine tasting chocolate for the first time, but not just that, but tasting chocolate after never eating something so special ever.
If he had some chocolate nearby, which he often did somewhere, he would slip a piece into his mouth and allow himself to become the character and experience that bliss for the first time. Chocolate was a perfect thing, he’d begin to think. There is absolutely nothing like chocolate, nothing so pure and simple and rich. It must be something given to us by God Himself! There is no way this joy could come from anywhere else. Chocolate was divine.
Because his mind worked in metaphor, he realized that he had experienced this before. He had been trudging along in a bleak world of poverty. All the horrible people were rich and fat with whatever they desired. He was humble and lacking with his stout heart and good soul. Yes, he may not have been perfect, but each step he took was one toward a true deep love. One of those such steps brought him to her. She was his chocolate. She was simple, sweet and divine. Somehow, he’ll never know how, she melted for him when he kissed her. And the perfection he experienced for the first time after starving in dirty streets of cobbled stones was so rich he couldn’t appreciate it with dry eyes.
As it is in many of his recollections, his more bitter anecdotes, he would usually say that once the poor person has experienced the chocolate, they would wish they mystery had remained distant from them. After that first bite, they would wish to always just have that and not become so familiar with the chocolate. But in this metaphor, it’s not the same. Chocolate isn’t like that, is it?
No, he still loves chocolate. Now he must wait until he can get his hands on that kind of chocolate again. The beauty of chocolate, is once you’ve had it, you will know it. You’ll know it by it’s soothing sweetness and subtle bitterness. You’ll know it by it’s smooth, quick dissolve into your tongue. You’ll know it by the way it forces your eyes to gently close and a smile of pure bliss to make it’s way upon your face.
He will know her like that.