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F is for Friendship: Chocolate Heaven

Ruchama Schnaidman

The birthday celebration Penina planned for me is so over-the-top amazing, it’s beyond anything I could ever dream of

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

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B est friends. There’s nothing like them, you know… seriously, they can make your dreams come true. 

Two weeks ago, Penina did something really out of character. She walked right up to my desk during recess and said, “Oh my, I just realized your birthday is in two weeks. Monday, right?”

I nodded. “Yeah,” I said. “The 15th.”

“Ok, great,” Penina said. “I’m glad I remembered early enough.” She raised her eyebrows mysteriously and held her hand out for my bag of jalapeno potato chips.

“Trade for a bag of ketchup chips,” she said.

She didn’t have to ask twice. Of all the things I love, ketchup chips come in at just about the top of the list (under chocolate, of course), which basically makes them a very important part of my life. Unfortunately, I’m not the only person in my family who feels that way about ketchup chips, which means that no matter how many bags of them my mother buys there are never any left. And I mean never. Seriously, three minutes after she comes home from the grocery, there aren’t any left in the pantry. One of my siblings must have some secret hiding spot for them, and while I don’t know who exactly it is, I definitely have my suspicions.

In any case, Penina knows I’ll trade any snack for a bag of ketchup chips, and lucky her — as the youngest in her family, she always has plenty of bags available.

She tossed me her bag of chips and we went outside to join my class’s game. For the rest of that day, Penina acted regular, as though nothing strange had just happened, but I was confused. Penina never spoke to me about my birthday, the same way I never spoke to her about hers. It was one of the unwritten rules of our friendship; birthday celebrations, no matter how small they were, were surprises!


But this time Penina had said something. Something, a bit mysterious, and suddenly I couldn’t stop obsessing over what she was planning. I thought about it every waking minute of every day for the next two weeks.

And, you know what? It’s a good thing I did. Because the birthday celebration Penina planned for me is so over-the-top amazing, it’s beyond anything I could ever dream of.

I don’t want to make you jealous, really I don’t, but…

Right now, I’m in a place so far beyond anything you can imagine, I still can’t believe I’m here. It’s the perfect place for me, the ultimate birthday present. Want to know where I am? All right, I’ll tell you.

I am in Chocolate Heaven. Yes, you heard right and yes, this is a real place, and no, I don’t mean I’m in some exciting candy story that has two aisles stuffed with chocolate. I’m in a real place — at least I think it’s real — called Chocolate Heaven.

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