My sister has this recipe for chocolate-covered peanut butter bites that my family is crazy for. She bakes batches of them every Christmas and on this Valentine’s Day eve, I’m baking them for someone who doesn’t love me anymore. It wasn’t always like this but it is now and I guess what happened in the middle doesn’t matter.
Melt one stick of butter and stir in 32 ounces of crunchy peanut butter.
Valentine’s Day can be difficult to spend alone, but it can also be difficult for people who are in relationships. It can be difficult to locate the perfect spot on the wall behind him, the spot just over his left shoulder where you’ll stare during appetizers and main courses and desserts, where you’ll stare instead of making eye contact because you’re afraid of what you might see in those black holes on his face. Valentine’s Day can be a hard time to be thoughtful when all of your thoughts are, when will you admit it? When do we give up? When did this happen? When all of your thoughts are when when when, Valentine’s Day isn’t much fun.
Add ¾ box of confectioners sugar to help the ingredients stay together.
Baking isn’t much fun either, when the person you’re baking for will take this thing you’ve spent countless minutes, hours creating, this thing you wanted to perfect, this thing you loved; they will take it and destroy it in seconds and have no idea how much time, how much of yourself you had to sacrifice just for it to exist. Baking is hard, you know? It requires time and patience and muscle and measurements; it requires attention and aspiration and that’s why you shouldn’t bake for someone who no longer loves you.
Mix in four cups of rice krispies and refrigerate for one hour to keep things from falling apart.
I am realizing this now as my sink teems with dirty dishes, a ten-car pile-up of stainless steel; look at this mess I’ve made. I realize this when it’s 6 PM and he still hasn’t called, when I can’t remember the last time we spoke and there wasn’t that thing in his voice, that thing that screams DO IT SO I DON’T HAVE TO. I realize this when my best friend sends me a text message reading, “I’m engaged!” and I’m suddenly reminded those words will never be the ending to this story, that this story has ended already and the only question left is when when when. I wash my hands to congratulate her, to tell her I love her; I want so badly to wash my hands of this.
Roll mixture into bite-sized balls and melt chocolate in a double boiler. Cover the mixture in chocolate; cover it all up and refrigerate.
Tomorrow I will package the treats I’ve baked for him and I’ll wear something black and lacy beneath my dress and I’ll show up at his apartment. He’ll take what I’ve brought him and put it away without looking at it because Valentine’s Day is stupid and trivial and the first time he’s agreed to see me in over a week. He’ll take me to my favorite restaurant for what will be the last time and I’ll find the spot on the wall, just above his left shoulder, it’ll come easy because I’ve had lots of practice. The food will not taste as good as I remember and in three days, I will know the answer to the question when.