"Chocolate" - Snow Patrol
A few months ago I celebrated the anniversary of one Zach Braff film and today’s story starts with another. Zach didn’t direct “The Last Kiss”, but apparently had influence on the film’s soundtrack after his mixtape for "Garden State" became a massive hit. The film opens with the song “Chocolate” by Snow Patrol (of "Chasing Cars" fame) and really sums up the theme and story of what we’re about to see.
There’s always a chance that my reading of a song is not what was intended, but to me the lyrics of “Chocolate” clearly detail the fallout from infidelity. I’m inclined to believe that Zach agrees since “The Last Kiss” is about this same topic. The most telling lines to support my theory include “You’re the only thing that I love/scares me more everyday/on my knees I think clearer” and, my favorite, “Just because I’m sorry doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it at the time.” Let's focus on the latter.
Before moving to California in 2009, I was in a relationship with the same person on and off for about four years. During one of the later off periods in our relationship, I decided it would be smart for me to explore other options. With that in mind, I posted a personal ad on Craigslist detailing the type of girl I was interested in dating, As you may expect from any experience listing a stereo or room for rent on Craigslist, the majority of replies I received were absolute spam. Plus, due to the nature of the post, many carried such spammy and awful subject and opening lines as “Hey sexy,” “Heard you want to play” and “Horny & Ready.”
Finally one email came in that seemed genuine. It was from a girl named Amber who I would come to find out lived and worked relatively close to me. I don’t remember how we started chatting from there. Presumably it was AIM before we started texting and then calling.
After a couple of weeks of this, we ended up meeting. If the idea of me posting a personal ad on Craigslist sounds dangerous than you’ll certainly be horrified to know that one day after work I headed over to Amber’s apartment. When I arrived she gave me the tour of the apartment (that she had just moved into) and we sat down to talk. When she found out I had never seen the show “The Whitest Kids U’ Know” she insisted that I watch her DVD copy of the first season.
When it started to get into the early hours, I said goodnight and headed home. Our conversations continued as did the list of fundamental films and shows I had never seen and vice versa. One of these titles was “Wristcutters: A Love Story” which my roommate had also been harping on me to see. A week or so later, we sought to remedy this by making plans for her to come over with her copy.
I should say that during all of this, my at-the-time ex-girlfriend only knew that I had been talking to someone. The night that Amber was set to come over, my ex was at someone’s house and was reconsidering our break. I forget what I told her I was doing that evening but I definitely didn’t tell her my real plans.
Upon Amber’s arrival, I told her that my ex had been having a hard time and might be calling me during the evening. For some reason, she didn’t turn and run at this disclosure. Sure enough, my ex called and I headed downstairs to ensure that there would be no female voices in the background. I don’t recall how many times this happened, but it must have been at least a couple.
For all the talk about how I needed to see this film, I don’t remember anything about it. I assume this is because most of my focus went in to ensuring my ex wasn’t going to flip out on me and the rest went into trying to act normal. The fact that Amber and I eventually started making out is probably to blame for this haziness as well.
When the film ended, I announced a curfew for Amber and sent her on her way. Again, I don’t know how she didn’t know something was wrong or put up with this absolute asshole move. My timing must have been pretty good because my ex called again a few minutes after Amber had left. She sobbed and begged to come spend the night to which I inevitably obliged. By the time she arrived, she was exhausted and I was ready for bed since I had to open at work the next morning.
I awoke a few hours later I quietly got dressed for work and head out. Sometime later, someone informs me that I have a call. I answer to discover it’s my ex and I start our normal conversation thinking she was just calling out of habit. Instead she says, “I feel like she was here.” At this point I freeze for a moment before playing dumb and asking, “who?” She spells out her theory which is, of course, 100% the truth, and I, of course, deny it. Finally, she asks again and I reply, “Yes. But I can’t talk about it now. I have to go.”
Before I could even hang up the screams started. I repeated my sign off and hung up as I was getting the stink eye from my boss. The stink eye then turned to a look that said, “what did you do?”
When I arrived home, I found my bedroom trashed. Letters torn, sheets thrown, and a message written in lipstick on my bathroom mirror that I honestly don’t remember what it said.
I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now but my ex and I eventually got back together. Before this I had a couple of subsequent hangouts with Amber, though I didn’t kiss her again after I knew that I was going to have to break things off. As I pulled up to drop her off, I told Amber that I was going to be getting back together with my ex, but assured her that she was a great girl, I had a lot of fun with her, and that I was very sorry about the whole thing. She was not very happy with these consolations.
Sometime after our off period turned back to on, my ex started seeing a therapist. Then, at some point, her therapist wanted to meet me and it somehow became couples counseling. There are several other stories I could tell about this experience, but I stay to the relevant issue that my time with Amber was always referred to as “infidelity.” I took issue with this and pleaded the infamous Ross Gellar defense of, “we were on a break!”
At the time, I related a lot to “Chocolate” as I spouted some of the same cliche lines such as “it didn’t mean anything” and “it just made we see that I only wanted you.” I honestly meant these things but still some part of me felt that “just because I’m sorry...” line rang a little more true.
My now-ex and I still remain friends as we later realized that we wanted different things and perhaps stayed together longer than we should have just because it was comfortable. When I moved away, it made the transition a bit easier as the distance kept us from relapse.
When I hear “Chocolate” I still think back to that time in my life and how stupid I was. Of course it also makes me think about how much I’ve grown and how happy I am to have found my wife — someone with whom everything just clicked from the start. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the song, but it can sometimes be painful to think of the “child of 25” I was, but “I promise I’ll do anything you ask this time.”