Last Valentine’s day I had my first real boyfriend. Tall, dark, and handsome, with a certain childlike wonder in everything he did. A philosophy major on an ROTC scholarship, he was a man of character. Until he cheated on me a week before Valentine’s day.
Being the lovestruck idiot that I was, I decided to give the boy a second chance on February 14th. He’s not one for pomp or any sort of circumstance, so it was an even bigger surprise that he planned an “I’m Sorry” scavenger hunt that ended in my room. He stood near my bed, holding a melting dessert in a brown takeout box from our favorite Uptown eatery. He looked like a hurt puppy: innocent, wide-eyed, remorseful, unsure.
However, no part of the red rose fanfare of the evening could cheer us up. Not even sex. But then we looked to the takeout boxes sitting on my desk. Our last hope. We peered in to discover that what should have been graceful, delicate pastries had dissolved into a slithering mess of melted cream and smooshed chocolate. The dainty pots de crème and warm chocolate ginger cake were now soggy and lukewarm. Tragically, our restaurant had changed pastry chefs just before Valentine’s Day. Now we couldn’t even seek comfort in familiar flavors.
But there we were: tear-stained, swathed in blankets, and eating bad desserts out of cardboard takeout containers with plastic forks. We shoveled in that cake and focused on chewing. We didn’t speak at first. We kept our eyes down on the pastry. Eventually we came to our well-tuned culinary senses and realized just how crappy those desserts were. But even after this mutual epiphany we continued to gobble until just a puddle of unsalvageable ice cream remained. If we could at least pretend to enjoy what was supposed to be part of the pleasure plan on that winter night then maybe we wouldn’t hurt as much. We ate out of habit; we ate out of a need for comfort from ourselves. We had become addicted to the sweetness of our relationship, so when we lost that we sought a necessary temporary consolation.
We looked up upon the final sweet slurps. Eye contact. A flicker of sympathetic understanding, because even bad dessert is better than no dessert at all.
Cherry on Top is SKC’s resident sex-food expert. Her favorite foods are chocolate, strawberries, and Indian food. She likes her men to be beautiful awkward weirdos, but isn’t too picky.