I knew this morning that today would be a day of tears. The tide of emotion has been rising for some time, the dam wall I have built hampering the natural ebb and flow of joy and sorrow, until I am overwhelmed by a flash flood. My time in Africa is coming to an end and I have been too long away from home, yet the impending departure is heartwrenching, so much will be left behind forever. And so I weep.
The beauty of the morning stabs at my heart, the unfettered joy of leaping whales catches my breath from my throat, and an unexpected gift arriving in the post, at last brings the tears gushing through.
The smell assaults me as I unwrap the parcel, and the thought that has gone into the packing sends my mind striding through early morning misty London streets, down to the docksides to welcome long awaited clipper ships returning from the spice islands. Cacao & cinnamon rise and swirl headily in the deli as two enourmous bars of Mexican drinking chocolate are revealed.
I can barely see through the floods to read the beautiful letter accompanying this generous gift, but the picture it paints of slightly lugubrious burros laden with this mexican gold makes me smile in spite of myself. And then I cry some more.
There is nothing for it but to crumble some of this bounty into a few of my grandmother’s tiny old coffee cups and set the cappuccino machine to frothing a fresh cold jug of milk. I pour minute amounts of hot, thickened white over great chunks of chocolatey dark, and true to the letter’s description, watch as they melt glacier like into an oil slick puddle. I top up the tiny demitasses with more foam and froth and we, the lucky, early few breathe in, then sip in silent reverence. Aaah! Now this is chocolate!
Intense, emotional, the moment is redolent with family memories, joy and pain, friends past and friends new-found.
Yes, today is clearly my day for tears, and what better to weep over than food and friends.