Chocolate-covered sleeps

She was hyperventilating, her arms waving frantic at imaginary fruit flies as she looked down at the puddle dripping bigger and bigger in front of her. Her feet were stomping the floor below her like a crazed winemaker. Suddenly she reached a moment of stillness with a hint of calm that can only be likened to a soufflé fresh out of the oven. She was on the fine line between rationality and implosion. She chose implosion at the sight of it bleeding out all over my dining room table.

In a matter of minutes her life was ending. She could feel the sorrow pour down my cheeks in droplets of salt tears. She saw the correlations, Carthage was burnt, razed and salted to curse the very earth it was built on, her tears fell in salt pools around one of the biggest accidents that ever befell her soul. All she could do was look at the oozing and festering. She was helpless and decided to turn my back as the life was pouring out of its open wound. She threw the knife out of her hand and decided to hide in her closet. As long as she couldn’t see it, it didn’t happen.

Inside her dark cave she pulled out her hair whilst lying in a bundle that resembled a baby rocking to and fro in a pot of chocolate. The initial shock finally fell away like a rolling pin thrown down a very steep hill, now it was just anguish and guilt that was bubbling up and out. She became a human pot of butter forgotten on the stove, fizzling and bubbling and her shades of yellow were beginning to disintegrate into a very unappealing, congealed and oily mess. She was a child whose gingerbread man’s head was bitten off by a mean sibling. She was a man deserted on an island and on the brink of insanity after living off cold, unflavoured fish. She was a mom who lost her baby in a grocery store after staring too long at the freshly baked loaves. She was frantic and whatever taste of normalcy she had left was melting away like a pork belly roasting on a roaring fire.

She began to sweat odours of onion and cheese from the stuffy closet, but she couldn’t make my feet stand under her. All the love and attention and time. For what? An accident of bad timing? She did all I could to save it, dammit. The whole episode ran over and over again in her head like a roll of never-ending puff-pastry. If she didn’t stab it so hard with the steak knife, would it have ended differently? If she kept it locked up just a little longer, would it still be alive right now? It was so young, so young! Her mind was a mess of tangled noodles as she tied the knot of grief and guilt ever tighter.

A few hours later she walked at the head of the funeral march back to the dining room as executioner and undertaker. Bracing herself for the dreaded table that signified its final resting place, she turned white as she saw it disappeared from where she stabbed it but a short while ago.

“Babe, this chocolate tart is delicious,” her boyfriend said between a mouthful of pie peeking through the door, crumbs flying from his stuffed mouth. “I hope you don’t mind but I saw it sliced on the table and it was a bit runny so I stuck it in the freezer for a bit. I thought you might have forgotten it out here.” She took a bite of the slice that came out slightly odd-shaped from melting and re-setting, and yes, it was delicious.

She woke up briefly afterwards for a loo break and returned to sleep within seconds, somewhat confused and bewildered, but relatively calm. God, it was 3AM and all she could think about was chocolate.

Cape Town – Vancouver