I’ve recently discovered something about myself.
The way to my heart is very clearly paved with chocolate. And there are plenty of examples across the span of my life so far that prove it.
When I was in first or second grade, I had a best friend from school named Ezra. Since I was in a cyber-charter school, outings were when I’d get to see my friends in person. Ezra and I always hung out together, and looking back, we probably even behaved more like the elementary school boyfriend-girlfriend friendships you read about in books like Junie B. Jones.
I remember one particular outing that was a Valentines exchange. You would make up all your Valentines ahead of time, with cheesy slogans like “Bee Mine”; classic cartoon characters that were endorsing your awesome Valentine’s Day; and always, a piece of candy. Everyone had a paper bag they had decorated with their name, heart stickers, and probably some glitter. They lined them up along a wall, and you dropped one Valentine in each bag until you reached the end of the line. Afterwards, all the kids would rush to find their paper sack, and would then look through the cards and stuff their faces with candy. I sifted through my bag, and I found at least five of a particular Valentine. It had some kind of sports reference that I didn’t understand, but there was also a small chocolate wrapped in patterned foil to look like a basket ball or a soccer ball. They were from Ezra: he had given what he had leftover to me. And I still count that as one of the most romantic gestures ever shown to me.
Someone who plops a Hershey kiss into my hand with a smile instantly becomes a beloved friend: not perhaps, because they gave me chocolate. I think because I find chocolate special, someone who gives me a piece seems to understand that, and I value that understanding highly.
I relate this to others, too. A friend of mine particularly loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and when I have them on hand and I know I’m going to see him, I bring one with me. It’s never for the purpose of bribery or because I’m trying to get rid of them. It’s because I know he genuinely enjoys them, and it’s a friendly gesture I’ve performed subconsciously for a long time.
Once, when I was working at camp, there was a s’mores campfire that I went to and tried to take pictures of. Needless to say, it was too dark without a flash, and after the first camper screamed, “Ahh! My eyes!” I thought it best to put away the camera and find a bench to sit on. A sweet counselor came up, placed a piece of chocolate in my hands, and whispered, “You didn’t get this from me.” Another friend who was working later gave me an extra Hershey bar once he’d secured the leftover stash from a sneaky camper. Whether it was because the sugar in the chocolate got to my brain, or I found the giving of chocolate a very kind thing to do, I went to sleep very happy that night.
So, here I come to my final point. Can chocolate be a love language? Because I’ve never really figured mine out, and this is as close as I’ve ever come.
Chocolate is special. It’s something you save, something you crave, something you indulge in. Chocolate is often given as a gift, and gifts are meant to be special: it wouldn’t be given if it weren’t meant to be as such. It’s not only because chocolate is sometimes for special occasions: handing someone a fruitcake isn’t quite the same as a piece of a Hershey bar. What is so perfectly wonderful about chocolate that makes it so intangibly exceptional?
That’s the part I don’t fully understand yet. All I know is that the gift of chocolate is a gift from the heart. And isn’t giving from the heart a part of what love is all about?