Carolyn Ward Twisted Sister Fiction Twisted Sister Food

FICTION — The Perfect Man

Image – Twisted Sister

She adored chocolate, more than anything in the whole world. It was the most important substance in her life. She cocooned herself within its milky sheen, rolled in its dust.
Her house was decorated in a cave-like palette of browns, cocoa carpets, mud toned rugs, cream-coloured walls. Her fingernails were always painted a chocolate hue, her hair dyed a rich bronze. She chose clothing in beige, reindeer and sand; and jewellery in browns such as amber and wood.

She ate as much of it as she could. It was easy for desserts, in mousses, cakes, muffins, and cookies. Adding it to savoury recipes was more of a challenge, but it mixed magnificently with chilli, or as a rich flavour within salty gravy over chicken. It was even delicious grated on top of a lasagna, or melted over Yorkshire puddings with clotted cream.

Easter time was the year’s highlight. The shops went chocolate-egg crazy, with shelves and shelves of them stacked from floor to ceiling. She bought several every couple of days, rotating around the local stores so as to avoid raised eyebrows. If asked, she would claim a big family, even though in truth it was just her and Arthur.

Some of the eggs she would leave in their beautiful coloured foil, their shiny boxes and bright colours adding a touch of fun to her quiet home. Arthur was who the eggs were really meant for, and he was always grateful.

She would take time to stack them artfully in her lounge, more carefully than any of the shop-workers. Eager for their lunch break, they would not have the skill to match the exacting precision that she achieved in her private display.

Arthur stayed in his upstairs room, the room with the special air conditioning unit. She had ordered it directly from Japan just for him. He was fussy about it being cool, loathing the warmth.

She would watch the families in the supermarkets, wearing her large brown sunglasses as she pushed her egg-filled trolley. She stared at the frisking children, the fed-up fathers, the frowning mothers. She drank them in, smiling at their togetherness, their teamwork.

Even with Arthur, she often felt so utterly alone. There was nobody for her to eat Easter dinner with, the large leg of chocolate-coated lamb, roast potatoes, minted peas. Arthur, god bless him, had little appetite. She knew that he was weakening, as the steadily rising temperatures of spring were his idea of hell, and she prayed for cool weather. He wouldn’t last in the heat. He couldn’t stand it. Summer would be the death of him.

She refused to meet the eyes of the checkout woman, as the twelve chocolate eggs were chirruped through the till laser. “That’s $26.50, love,” the woman said, smacking her chewing gum loudly.

Margot handed her a fifty dollar note, and stood stock-still as the woman counted out her change. Wheeling the eggs away, she felt a thrill of anticipation. Arthur was going to love them. The luxury egg with strawberries hand-finished on the surface, the white chocolate egg with biscuit pieces, the honeycomb… nowadays there was such tremendous variety. Arthur would be blown away.

She drove home carefully, the eggs stacked in the boot. She hauled them in a few bags at a time, finally closing the front door and leaning against it, breathless. Which one would she take for Arthur first?

After many minutes of deliberation, she selected a dark chocolate egg. She went into the kitchen to collect her tray of essentials, stroking them item by item. There was a paintbrush, a bowl, three different sized spoons, a palette knife, and of course, the blowtorch.

She added the dark egg to the tray, and serenely walked upstairs. Arthur’s room was at the back of the house, with the single window covered by a blackout blind and thick brown curtains. His air conditioning was purring away, making the room feel rather like a fridge. He stood in the middle, splendid and dusky.

She quickly melted the new egg, waving the blowtorch around the bowl. With the spoons and knife, she began adding further detail to Arthur. The rich darkness of the chocolate was wonderful to paint on to him, adding depth and sharpness to his eyebrows and eyelashes. She carefully added darker tiger-stripes to his brown irises, the breath catching in her throat as she took in how lifelike he was becoming. Her beloved Arthur!

When she had used all of the dark chocolate, she sat on the rocking chair in the corner and gazed at him. Surely, to most women on this earth, he was the perfect man. He was tall, dark and handsome of course; but also a great listener, and always there when she needed him. Best of all though, was the fact that he was entirely made of chocolate, so whenever she fancied a nibble, she could wander upstairs and snap off a piece to munch.

She smiled. His left foot was looking remarkably tasty, and with all of the spare chocolate downstairs, she could easily remodel it tomorrow. She leaned forward and gently broke it off, cradling it in her hands before heading back downstairs to put the kettle on.

The rest of the house felt warm now. She was comfortable on the settee nibbling at Arthur’s toes, slurping hot tea and watching her True Crime show.

Upstairs, in the back bedroom where the air conditioning hummed, the room was always a safe temperature for the chocolate man. The mirrors decorating his walls reflected every angle of his brown body, and the myriad shadows thrown from his chiselled musculature and sharp cheekbones. He was perfect, aside from his missing foot, and was Margot’s greatest ever creation.

Suddenly there was a flash of movement and a sparkle in the mirrors; as a tear fell from one of his beautiful brown eyes.

He let out a tiny sob, praying for a miracle, that soon there would be an end to this. What had begun so sweetly was now so bitter. He shivered and hoped she would choke on him.

*

Carolyn Ward is an English graduate mum of three and writes flash and stories when editing her first novel gets too much.  She goes big on ice cream and gin-based cocktails, and of course, chocolate. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at @Viking_Ma

{Ed Note — I have to say, this was one of my favorite photo shoots}

Image – Twisted Sister

 

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