White Snow and Dark Chocolate
Trent’s house was a little far from my house. There were nights in which Trent, coming home from his usual French lessons, stopped by my house to give me a bar of dark chocolate and then left. He was always in a hurry, a funny kind of hurry, because half the time, there were no reason to be hurried at all. Maybe because he was trying to hide something from me. I saw it in his eyes the few times I caught a stare into his dark, brown eyes.
It was winter, and the snow was falling. I loved waking up in the morning when no one had waken and looked out my window to see the untouched white blanket that covered the world. The pure white powder that hadn’t been soiled by human hands. I didn’t really know why I like the dreary, bleak season: Winter. “Because Anna, you know that Spring will soon follow after”, that was what Trent used to say. I thought he was thinking way too deep into it. I just like the snow and the coldness of the season. It was quite simple.
During the winter months, I spent as much of my days outside amid the snow and ice as possible. I would nibbled on the bar of chocolate Trent had given me. It would be my only source of food for the day. He always brought me dark chocolate even though he knew that I hated it. It was too bitter. Still, it was the only thing he would bring me. I came to be used to its taste. Trent said that if you become familiar and used to something, you’d find things you hadn’t noticed before. The dark chocolate’s taste stayed on your tongue for a long time, and it was sweet. It was a surprisingly strange sweetness.
Now and then, Trent would joined me exploring the never-ending adventure outside in the endless fields and mountains of snow. Trent spent the time digging though the snow as if trying to find some hidden treasures.
“Anna,” he told me, “beneath all this snow and even all this soil, tiny little seeds are taking roots waiting patiently for Spring. When Spring comes, they will sprout into tiny little plants and eventually turning this vast field into a forest of flowers.”
Entranced by his words, I stood and listened as he spun out tales of dark forest, vast fields, and lonely explorers. We also spent many days declaring what flowers would grow where and promised ourselves when Spring came along we would plant many pots of flowers. I wanted to grow lilies. Beautiful white calla lilies were my favorites.
Like a new, foreign wind, Henry blew into my life. I met him at a dance club, a place where I begged and pleaded Trent to go with me. He flatly refused with no explanation. Thus, gone were the days spent outside in the cold and white flaky snow. A new adventure awaited me. Henry, like the wild and unpredictable gust of wind that he was, showed up unexpectedly at my front door day after day and whisked me away. He introduced me to a new world, new places, new people, and new experiences. At times I stood, the snow would fall lightly on my head and caused me to think of Trent. I felt a pang of guilt within me. Trent still left me a bar of dark chocolate on his way home from French class even though I was not there.
* * *
On one of those rare afternoon when I got a chance to see Trent, I announced to him excitedly,
“I found a boyfriend.”
“Really…” There was a small sadness in his voice that I did not catch.
“You don’t know him though.”
I was getting angry. “Don’t you have anything better to say? ‘Really? Oh! Uh-huh!’ are all I get out of you these days.”
Trent peered at me with sad eyes and spoke to me in a sad tone,
“I already knew what you were going to say before you said it.”
Too painful to look at me, Trent turned away staring at the ground. I looked down too and noticed that there were little seedlings peeking from the ground. The snow had melted, and Spring was on her way.
* * *
Like the Winter, Trent slowly disappeared from my life. I didn’t noticed because no one left me dark chocolate bar on his way home from French class anymore. Henry, on the other hand, was still a new gust of wind every time I was with him. I came to forget Trent and the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate.
* * *
When Spring, too, was threatening to leave me, Trent came to my house suddenly. He brought with him a pot of white calla lilies. For some reason, I my heart raced, and I became nervous,
“I’m sorry. I don’t know how to take care of them. They’ll die.”
Trent didn’t reply. He set the lilies down on the brightest spot. He winked at me and then said,
“It’s not that you don’t know how to take care of them. It’s that you forget about them.”
I stared at him uneasily. I burst out in tears as if someone had slapped me across my face. Trent was puzzled, but he didn’t comfort me like he normally would. He just stood there and patted me gently on my shoulders,
“I was only teasing. These just bloomed. If you take care of them well, they’ll last quite a long time.”
Through my tears and sniffing, I demanded,
“And where are my dark chocolate?”
“I thought you were over them.”
I sniffed, but managed a small smile. Trent broke the news to me as thoughtless as I was when I told him about Henry.
“Anna, I’m leaving this weekend. My Dad will be picking me up at Côte d’Azur. There was a time when I worried that I can’t make myself go. The thought of staying in a strange country, with strange people, and strange customs was a little scary. I had even thought of throwing it all away: my French classes, the money that was saved up, all of it, everything. After doing a lot of thinking, I decided that I need to go…”
* * *
I couldn’t remember what I did up to the day Trent left. All I could remember was a feeling of lost and emptiness. So many things could remind me of Trent from the pictures on my wall to the flowers on the sidewalk. The piece of dark chocolate that I bought for myself didn’t have any sweetness in them at all, just pure bitterness. I felt like someone was playing my favorite song but suddenly struck a wrong note that couldn’t stop.
Four years of college just flew by. Henry and I parted ways. We still went here and there together but just as friends. I liked that a lot better. Every adventure had to end. Every gust of wind had to blow away. Like any good book, it had to close and be put aside. One just couldn’t keep reading just one book.
I hadn’t heard from Trent since. I had conquered the feeling of emptiness, but once in a while like an old wound, there would be a jolt of familiar pain. I was twenty, no longer the clueless teenager that I once was. Still, I felt no wiser.
Maybe…maybe I had loved Trent all along but only now realized it. Maybe the image of Trent was just my way of lying to myself about all of my failures at love. Whatever it was, I only knew this: after everything had happened, after every heartbreaks, every reunion, every laughter, every endeavors either failures or successes, the happiest and most at peace I had ever felt was during those days spent with Trent in the snow, in the coldness of winter…