i'm lying on my sister's bed, cozily tucked under a rich brown down comforter; nestled next to me is a medium-sized box of chocolate treasures. thank you brigittine monks of oregon for your chocolate-mousse filled confections...more like "perfections." i can hear the ever-increasing drum of the rain beating against my window, and my house shakes sporadically due to intense wind gusts, but somehow i'm not phased. the bittersweet dark layer encasing the creamy light and fluffy filling touches my lips and rolls along my tongue, as i slowly bite into my chocolate truffle.
this is bliss.
i'd like to think that chocolate is one of the "less evil" coping mechanisms i've stumbled upon. in college, my friend elyse and i would tease that 'God sent us chocolate until we got married.' elyse and i both had some interesting experiences with boys during those arduous school terms and let's just say that chocolate never let us down. it never took without giving. it never forgot to call back. shoot, chocolate you could depend on. it always tasted good, treated you well. you could count on it for late-night rendezvous, mid-month pick-me-ups, the ideal after dinner dessert that could be found at any 7-11 downtown. my roommate and i even developed our own system for what kind of chocolate would be necessary based on the situation. for example, acing an exam warranted "cheap choc" while an incredibly horrid day called for extreme chocolate intervention, mainly in the form of the "brown obsesh": a tgi friday's fudge brownie covered in chocolate syrup and ice cream. (we usually split one if you're wondering.) it's funny because one semester the cashier working the graveyard shift at the 7-11 store in point loma, who would notice us buying "cheap choc" on a regular basis, commented, "weeman lah-ike whyte chockolate" in his southern drawl, as we contemplated one evening whether to purchase "white choc" in lieu of our usual dark variety. that comment sealed the deal.
i must say, life is quite an adventure and having chocolate as a trusty sidekick has helped ease the bumps and bruises of an at-times jerky ride. it's my friday and therefore i have a moment to reflect on the last week's happenings. my boss's husband unexpectedly had a stroke driving to work one day. a dear friend of the company's and loyal guest passed away from cancer. yesterday marked exactly one year since my coworker died. besides working extra to cover for my boss, my patience was tested in more ways than one. a few guests who stayed at our hotel complained due to weather issues, noise issues and costs--things i have little to no control over. at work on sunday, i even had one gentleman (i take that back, one "man") storm into my office about 40 minutes after checking in, and scream at me about the dangerous surf conditions at the beach in front our property. he then point-blank accused me of "selling him lies" about his children being able to swim in the cove. (note: our protected beach is typically ideal for small children but unfortunately an unexpected north swell created abnormally large waves that then broke over the reef and onto our beach this week.) i held back tears as the man who moments before discussed his hometown and excitement about being on maui, as we got him and his family situated in their beautiful ocean-view villa. it's always hard when people pull a 180 and start projecting their personal frustrations onto me. there's a lot of this in the guest relations part of my job. i'm pretty sure this was one of the more difficult conversations i've had in the past year and a half at this job though. at one point, to assert that i was still in control of the situation, i had to respectfully demand that the guest step out of my office while i contact my manager for further assistance. once he realized perhaps what a jerk he had been to me, he removed himself from the office and said he'd be packing his luggage and that i could call him. as soon as he left, the reservationist out front gently asked, "are you OK?" calmly and collectively, i prayed that God would just get me through the day. it was a rough one.
and He did.
and i got through the next day also. some days are like that, i suppose. you just pray that you'll get through them because you don't know what's right side up or why weather patterns are so odd or why you can't control the wave height at the cove in front of your hotel so that guests would just be happy that they could take their children swimming...
back to chocolate. as my work week draws to a close, and i am able to finally and perhaps deservedly curl into bed and cast off the cares of my at-times very stressful job, i'm reminded of the small things. the things for which i am very much thankful. my little chocolate balls of joy, individually tucked in labeled foils and pleasantly packaged in a light yellow ornamental box. when i have a rough week and wish i could hug a friend (but do not have one readily-accessible), i can climb under my covers, shed a couple of tears and reach for a chocolate truffle. after just one bite, everything seems a little easier. a little brighter. if only that man had a truffle. maybe if he could find pleasure in the small things he'd be able to appreciate the pricey amenities of his luxury beachfront unit. maybe not. maybe he doesn't even like chocolate? who knows.
regardless, thank You Lord that there is chocolate, which helps sweeten bitter moments. and harsh guests. and painful weeks.
time to put the truffles away--until i need them next.