“This wasn’t what she wanted at all. She knew for months but only accepted it today, as she was about to start her day. Instead, she packed her bags…’

As her mix of emotions streamed her chocolate smooth cheeks. For ten years now, she’s been in a marriage with a narcissist.

Zella couldn’t have known, when she met Brice, what was to come. They had met online, through an online dating app, Chocolate Love.

He was everything she ever dreamed. Towering her at 6” 7’, he had seductive brown eyes, a clean cut sophisticated groom, and Cologne that could hypnotize any heart. His profile identified him as a successful Stock Trader from WallStreet. He was raised in the hood-rat streets of South Chicago, with his seven sisters and four brothers.

As she continued packing, Zella thought back to their first date. She and Brice communicated,via CL, for a few weeks before he asked her out.

She is an Early Childhood Special Education school teacher, so she kept busy. When she’s not attending IEP meetings, preparing lessons specially arranged to meet individual needs of her students, Zella enjoyed her oasis of her gorgeous garden blooms and a good romance comedy book.

After endless hassle from her loving coworkers, Zella decided to create a profile on Chocolate Love. Quite honestly, she didn’t intend to find her perfect match; but, the peace on her lunch breaks made the profile well worth it.

On particular Wednesday night, Zella laid nestled against the end of her reclining couch, reading. She had started this book that past weekend, and she couldn’t put it down. Right in the middle of a humorous lunch date , with Thelma and Louis , Zella hears her wind chime notification sound.

She sat up and didn’t move. She really didn’t know what to think; but, she knew she suddenly felt nervous. It was a feeling she hadn’t experienced in quite some time.

Shortly thereafter, Zella gathered her wits and walked across the room to her desk. She saw the inbox had “ 1 unread message” from a “Box of Chocolates”… She couldn’t hold in her giggles. A name like that, she assumed this was a man pushing for an ego boost and definitely not in her league.

Suddenly, Zella heard a car honk outside. She ignored it for a moment, while she gathered up the rest of her toiletries from the master bathroom.

She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts, she forgot her mother arranged for a cab to pick her up. This way, Brice wouldn’t suspect she had left just yet. The week before, she told him she had a required work seminar this weekend. It was her chance to escape.. despite her longing to work on her marriage.

The honking began a second time. Zella limped back to her bed, zipped her suitcase, and heaved it to the floor. In the last ten years, Brice has since broken her hip three times, busted an ear drum, left countless scrapes, cuts, and welts, and damaged her confidence.

Slowly, Zella managed to drag her luggage down the stairs and out to the end of her sidewalk. The cab driver witnessed her struggling and hopped out to assist her. She smiled and held her hands in a prayer position in front of her chest, as if to say thank you.

Having opened the passenger door for her, the driver helped her inside. This Friday had begun with a heavy downpour of rain. God knows Southern Georgia needed it; but, it was painfully hellish for her arthritis.

Moments later, Zella sat and watched her house, of ten plus years and a million memories disappear into the fog. She imagined this moment many of times in the last year. She never knew and can’t understand even now what she’s feeling.



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