daily preciousness

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

taste of chocolate

I have a box of chocolates. It's white cardboard with shiny gold lettering. At about 3 1/2 by six inches, it holds a nicely sized portion of mints and peppermints. (That's about 9 by 15 1/2 millimeters for some of you.)

The candies inside are lucious little bite-sized drops. Strong tasting, they are grasshopper green mint sandwiched between thin wafers of creamy dark chocolate.

Also in the box there are bright white spearmint logs, dotted with tiny pink flavor crystals. The brown and green candies form a colorful checkerboard with the white and pink ones.

Even with the box top on, I can smell the sharp, strong scent of Fannie May's famous chocolates. These are some fine treats! They taste better than they smell.

I smile guiltily as I indulge myself in them. They weren't meant for me, at all.

But I'm eating them anyway. Call me decadent. Call me obscenely gluttonous. Call me a naughty, naughty J-blend. But realize that I'm only really guilty of being forgetful.

You see, the box is a souvenir I got from Chicago a few months back. I got it for Gavin, my friend from there who was out of town when I visited. He flew down to see me last week and spend time in Baton Rouge. (I set them aside to give to him when he came to visit me, but I forgot somehow.)

Although I'd originally planned to spend more time showing him around the city, we instead stayed in the apartment just spending time together.

It seems that he came down to see *me* rather than all the Southern sites. This is all well and good. But my inner tour guide was in complete turmoil. "Why doesn't he want me to show him around?" I kept asking myself. After weeks and weeks of careful study of local history and culture, after rehearsing a moving oration telling the story of the battle of Baton Rouge in the Civil War, I never got a chance to show off my stuff.

All for naught, since we didn't do the historical tour. But on the positive side, I got to relax and re-energize myself for the fall school semester, which started August 21st, the day after he left.

No. I'm lying. I didn't do very much research. I just started a file on local things to do. But I'm glad I had a chance to kick up my heels and rest my spirit.

Gavin's visit was a wonderful experience for me. Spending time with somebody as dear and sweet as this guy is very rare for me. I suppose I've gotten just a little jaded and cold since most of my friends now are a little on the darker side. Gavin was a great dose of sunshine into my cloudy existence. This fellow came all the way from Chicago just to stare deeply into my eyes, smile and intently say, "I want to take it all in: Jeffrey in three dimensions." He came just to hold me. He came just to spend time with a kindred spirit.

See, we'd never met before. At least not outside the virtual world. Sure, we'd talked on the phone almost daily since June. Yes, we had chatted online several times a week since late 1999. But we had never once met face-to-face. The webcam just isn't an adequate replacement for that.

So we meet. And I'm charmed. Completely.

While we started out a little awkward, by the second day I was very comfortable with him and he felt likewise. His quirky charm had worked its way into the cockles of my heart. And believe me, I was NOT simply thinking soley with my cockles, like I sometimes do. It was more than that. This guy and I have a special bond.

His eyes, just sparkling with energy and heart-felt emotions, were a delight to peer into and drink in. And I took large gulps.

I grew very comfortable with him staring at me. (Even on the last evening while we were together, he *still* was intently focusing on my three dimensionality, so that he could recall me completely when I returned to mere pixels on his computer monitor.)

My favorite moment of his visit was completely unstructured and unplanned. (It seems oddly obvious that this should be the case, in retrospect, considering Gavin's personality.) Spontenaity is not my strong point. So it's good that Gavin excels at it. (He invented it.) We were listening to a tribute CD that he'd help create. One of the artists had a dancey, fun version of a song from Gavin's favorite TV show, Sifl 'n' Olly.

So we just started dancing around my room like two drunken village idiots. Yes, we were partially performing for the webcam, but we were primarily entertaining ourselves. The end result was that I fully experienced the music and grew to appreciate it more, while he got to witness my conversion to the religion of Sifl 'n' Olly. (He's a registered priest of this religious movement.)

Another high point of the trip was when Gavin cut his hand and nearly spilt blood all over the living room at a party I was having. Luckily he averted the social stigma of causing a scene by running to the back of the house and seeking first aid. He only told me about that later.

All in all, it was a satisfying and energizing experience spending time with him. I could hardly imagine time with Gavin as being anything *but* energizing. He has a wonderful electric aspect to his personality. I suspect that everyone around him must feel it. That's probably why he gets so many stares as he walks down city streets. That's why he is certain to be a great actor one day. That's why I consider him a good friend, even though we've spent very little time together in close physical proximity.

I think of these things as I taste the chocolate that was meant for him, long after I'm out of his immediate vicinity.

I think about the hours we laughed together. I recall my realization that Gavin's deeply in touch with his ridiculous side (just like me). I mull over the muted pillow talk.

I imagine what it will be like the next time our paths merge.

I ponder these thoughts as I close the lid on the box of candies, relishing the wonderful taste I got, so delectable and so... intense!

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