When Apei was a little girl, her mother–for the sake of the family economy–would never buy chocolate for her. Thirty years ago in Penang–a tropical island off the coast of Malaysia– chocolate was very expensive. Other candies made of coconut and durian are readily available. Apei had plenty of those, but her heart is always on chocolate–it’s exotic, it’s dark, it’s rich. Its expensiveness only adds to its attraction and the fact that she couldn’t have any made it the most desirable thing in the world.
Apei grows up and attends college and then becomes a bank manager. She can afford chocolate now and she buys it regularly. She also gets married to Jun who works in the same bank, but in a different branch.
One day, after dinner, Jun tries to find a tool and searched all over the place for it. Apei says she might have placed it somewhere a while ago, but she can’t recall where she placed it.
Jun comes to a cabinet space at the corner of the kitchen. He’s surprised that it is locked. He has never paid much attention to the kitchen and doesn’t know that there’s a necessity for locks.
“Why do you lock this cabinet?” Jun asks.
Apei looks back at him wistfully. She wants to say something, but can’t make up her mind what to say. She wants to prevent Jun from opening it, but Jun’s interest is piqued now and he insists that he sees what it is inside. So Apei reluctantly gets the key and opens it up for him.
Inside, it is stacked from top to bottom with chocolate of all kinds. It must have more than one hundred chocolate bars and packages. And there’s a big container too with gooey indeterminate substance filling up half of it.
“What is this?” Jun points to the big container and asks.
“I try to lose weight.” Apei says.
“So? Why do you buy chocolate then?”
“I love chocolate.” Apei says. “All right. All right. Stop judging me. I love chocolate. So I buy them and chew them, but I don’t swallow for fear of gaining weight. So I spit out into a container.”
“Oh.” Jun says, staring at his wife as if she’s crazy.