It was a Sunday afternoon and I was walking on a beach. The warm sand trickled between my toes, tickling the soles of my feet.

I glanced up at the bright sun. It kissed my face.

The wind caressed my hair, whispering through the blond strands as it bobbed on my shoulders. Smells of the sea assaulted my nose.

Sea gulls flew overhead, their wings flapping, beaks chattering as they searched for remnants of discarded food.

At the water’s edge, the surf pounded onto the shore. It seemed to play a game of tug-of-war, as it was pulled out to sea, only to return again with its white caps foaming, splattering sea spray everywhere.

The Atlantic Ocean is a lot different from the Pacific. In California, you can swim in the sea as it massages your body. Here, in Maine, on the Atlantic coast, just sticking your toes in the surf would result in a howling response as your toes turn blue from the ice water.

Nearing the boardwalk, I could smell fried clams and French fries from a nearby vendor. Then a new smell, faint at first, permeated the air.

I climbed the stairs to the boardwalk and, as I crested the top of the stairs, the new smell was identified — chocolate.

As I proceeded along the boardwalk, the aroma grew stronger. My mouth salivated. My eyes were darting in every direction, trying to find the source.

My nose was definitely on a quest to find chocolate.

Rounding the corner of the wharf, I spied a candy shop. My feet just pulled me over to the display window.

On the left was a taffy-pulling machine, working diligently at its task. Next to it, on the display counter, sat tray upon tray of fudge; peanut butter fudge, fudge with nuts, fudge without nuts, raspberry fudge … so many inviting flavors to choose from.

Standing there, I thought, “I could gain five pounds just standing here.”

Taking a deep breath, I decided to walk away. At least I told myself I would do that. Somehow, my feet had a mind of their own. I found myself in the shop, purchasing a half-pound box of fudge.

Leaving the shop, I clutched the box against my chest; my heart was throbbing. The aroma from that box of chocolate was driving me crazy.

Back on the boardwalk, I went in search of a bench. The aroma of fresh fish danced upon the air, but the scent of the chocolate overpowered it.

Locating an empty bench, I collapsed on it. I reverently opened the box. Inside lay six pieces of fudge. I slowly extracted one piece and popped it into my mouth, closing my eyes, savoring every delicious moment.

The fudge began to melt in my mouth. I could feel the sides of my cheeks and tongue being coated with chocolate. I swallowed and as it slid down my throat, a grin surfaced on my face.

Chocolate. Rich wonderful chocolate.

Just that morning, everything had gone wrong. I had burned the breakfast toast; the newspaper did not get delivered; I went to the market, forgetting my list, then ran out of gas on the way home.

Since I was near the beach, I had decided to go for a stroll. Perhaps I could relax and throw my troubles away. Yet I found chocolate — was there any better medicine for the soul?

Without opening my eyes, I took a second piece of fudge. My heart slowed to a normal rhythm. Peace and calm revolved around me. I felt thoroughly satisfied.

I straightened my posture, closed the box and took stock of my surroundings.

On a bench directly across from me sat an elderly man, watching me. I felt flustered. He was smiling at me and his eyes twinkled, then he winked.

The blare of a horn crackled through the air and the man turned to watch the harbor mail boat docking farther down the wharf. Then his attention turned back to me.

“Bad day?” he inquired. “I know,” he shared. “When my wife has a bad day, she goes in search of chocolate.”

I blushed. How did he know?

I stood up abruptly and the box tumbled from my lap onto the ground, landing upright. I was mortified.

I just stood there, looking at the box. A hand appeared, picking up the box for me. I looked into piercing blue eyes.

I took a step backward. “No, thank you,” I stuttered. “You keep it,” and I turned and hurried away at a fast clip.

As I neared the end of the boardwalk, I slowed my pace. I felt embarrassed. I dared to look back before I turned off the boardwalk. The man was back on the bench where he had been. He sat quietly, his eyes closed and a half-smile on his face.

I could almost hear him sigh and I giggled as I realized that he had just experienced chocolate heaven.

Bobbi LaChance is president of “Behind Our Eyes,” a nonprofit organization for writers with disabilities. She is the author of the romance book “Wishes.” She lives in Auburn with her husband and her guide dog.


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