Login   Sign Up 


A Bar of Chocolate

by RIO 

Posted: 05 February 2016
Word Count: 686
Summary: For Challenge 587

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

A Bar of Chocolate
I will always remember with joy those wonderful days of childhood in a world with limited television broadcasts and no computers or mobile phones; a simple hard life for my parents and a treasury of memories for me.
My father was a tea salesman and once a week I would hastily complete my homework so I could accompany him back to his depot and help him load up for the following day. As I jumped into the seat in his little red van, he started up the engine. This usually took several attempts and we would then chug down the hill on which our house was situated like a kangaroo suffering from a chesty cough. Eventually the engine did settle down and we would continue our short journey.
The depot was always a hive of activity on our arrival, the other salesmen taking stock and hurriedly filling up their vans for the following day. 1 helped my father with the stocktaking, writing in one column his remaining stock and in another the new stock as he loaded up.
I am reminded each time I open a new packet of tea or a jar of coffee of the aroma that was impregnated into the walls of that vehicle. I would breathe in deeply as we loaded each new box savouring the delicate perfume of the tea and the bitter contrast of the packets of coffee. Once the van was loaded, my father took his delivery sheet and cash payments from his many customers to the supervisor after which we would commence our journey home on foot which took about half an hour.
At the end of the street from the depot stood a corner shop which seemed to sell everything you could imagine from pats of butter to ornate buttons. We always purchased the same thing, a small bar of chocolate. My father carefully unwrapped it and then divided it equally between us with a caution which he repeated every time; “You’ll eat your tea when we get home won’t you?” and “Don’t tell your Mum. It’s our little secret.”
Secrets in our house were rare as my mother was of an inquisitive nature. I never betrayed his trust; the risk that I might be forbidden my chocolate was too great.
As we walked along the cobbled streets my father told me tales of distant lands where the women were singing as they carefully picked just the top leaves from the tea bushes. Then in our imagination we travelled to lands where the coffee beans came from. He would explain how the beans were roasted and their long journey until eventually their aroma would fill our kitchen as the steam rose from the coffee pot.
Week after week my father told the same tale as we munched away at our share of the chocolate bar. I was in a world of adventure, far removed from the grim dark streets of an industrial town in the late fifties.
Then came puberty and with it a sudden lack of interest in the origins of our beverages. The Beatles, loud- playing record players and the opposite sex filled my mind and imagination. I remember how understanding my father seemed when I told him I no longer wished to join him on his journey home. “You see Dad, it’s all the homework I have to do,” was my explanation.
But the memory of that first lonely walk home for him is still so clear in my mind. He arrived at the house a little later that teatime as it was foggy outside. This was a regular occurrence during the long dark winter evenings. I hurried to the front door when I heard him put his key in the lock. I greeted him with open arms and noticed that this time as he held me his grip was tighter and longer than usual. As we parted l saw tears in his eyes.
“That fog really stings your eyes,” he said quietly as he took off his coat and removed an unopened bar of chocolate from the pocket.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

TassieDevil at 12:46 on 05 February 2016  Report this post
Hi Rio,
I love nostalgia and quite enjoyed the mental image you have painted here. Clever melange of similees.

then chug down the hill on which our house was situated like a kangaroo suffering from a chesty cough.

Your tale had one of those feel-good memories woven through it but I was concerned about it actually being a story rather than a vignette. Fortunately you took your reminisance to the next level with a very uplifting resolution, showing how your change in attitude was tempered by an extension of the old routine. Well done and thanks for taking the time to post.

Bazz at 16:51 on 05 February 2016  Report this post
Lovely story, Rio, first the gentle nostalgia of memory, and then the more personal insight at the end. There's something wonderfully poignant and understated about the simple exchanges here, the tears in the fog, the unwrapped bar of chocolate, an entire relationship distilled in such simple moments, and so tender and real. Great read.

Desormais at 11:57 on 06 February 2016  Report this post
A nicely poignant memoir type of submission, Rio, which turned nicely to a moving conclusion.  And that fog did sting your eyes, not to mention your chest.  Nicely done.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .