Mar 3, 2014

Dear P—

Hi. I'm now remembering that small place where you took me for hot chocolate, that was when the mall was being put up. Your sister was very angry, the people had never been so organized (not even after the earthquake, she remarked), but the mayor would not listen to reason.

I'm not sure if the place yet stands. The mall must have killed it. Killed, or absorbed. I'll try to recall the name, later, search for it online. Right after posting this. Swiss? Swiss something?

I remember the following morning, breakfast at your house, and how, when you gave me my cup of hot water, I chose a packet of hot chocolate from your mother's favored stash. I knew that my shamelessness didn't go unnoticed when we returned for merienda. The stash was nowhere to be found.

What came next was the worst, most awkward coffee of my life.

I imagine the stash still there, somewhere, maybe your mother forgot where she hid it, the rubber band more brittle now than before, but only a bit so it's holding, after all these years, your child, my children, their innumerable glasses of milk. I want your son to find that stash and play with it, to tear those packets open and sprinkle the powder over the orchids, or maybe mix the contents in a pail and leave it out in the sun where evaporation will work its science, bless that hill with a shower of chocolate.

Maybe someday he'll knock on my door and ask if I remember blogging letters to you. I hope by then I'd have the sense to ask: Did you pay her a visit before you came here? If he says no, I'll give him some money, small talk, some mixture of thank you and sorry, though I don't have any reason to apologize to him. All I ever did was take the two plastic cups he handed me (juice, cookies) at the chapel, back when he was four or five.

I hope he'll say yes, yes he passed by on his way here, said some words. I'd sit him down, cook for him. Because it must have been a long day, on the road. Because I never did cook anything for you, my friend.

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