One by one, I placed them on my tongue. Close the lips, push the morsel to the roof of my mouth melting into a nearly liquid bittersweet puddle before being swallowed. The bag was big, twenty lbs, purchased from Costco, for better holiday baking. She would be angry. She would give me hell for this. I reached in, the contents half gone already. I should have been full, satiated. The phrase, “too rich”, meant nothing to me. The clock on the mantelpiece donged out the hour, she would be home soon. Maybe, if I shoved them into the back of the cabinet where no one could see, we wouldn’t have the talk. That incessant loop of tears and recriminations and promises to do better. Followed by sitting on the pantry floor, my pleated uniform skirt hiked up in the back, feeding a hunger I could not name and would never understand. Tires against gravel. She was home, I pulled one giant fistful of chocolate from the bottom of the bag, shoved them all into the sticky trap my mouth had become. Chewed. The chips a solid mass of sugar melding with saliva, running down my throat. The click of a turning key, the creak and sigh of the floorboards receiving her weight. Panicked, I shoved the near empty bag in the space between the wall and refrigerator.

“Anna? Are you home?” My mother’s voice drifted down the hall.I opened my lips to respond, but there was nothing, only a suddenly sickening ball of half melted chocolate in place of my voice. I choked, gagged, my stomach clenched, propelling me in a furious dash for the bathroom, where all twenty lbs of semisweet morsels took their leave of me.

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