I was naughty on the second half of the Boston Chocolate Tour that I attended with a dozen other bloggers. In fact, I got naughty combined with creepy and hallucinatory… and it’s all the fault of the city and the sky.
I was focused on the chocolate and the clan at first… honest I was. The whole first hour and a half, I chomped the deep cocoa squares, smiling through chocolate-creamed teeth, chatting charmingly.
But then the temptation tugged. As we walked in our blogger gaggle blob through the Boston Public Garden, the sky began to mist pink. The tree above me dipped down emerald and strong, and I did the thing a tour-goer should never do: I separated from the blob to get a better look… alone.
Unleashed from the group, I lurked a hundred paces back, snapping photos of the sky, trees, and backs of bloggers I’d been chatting with moments before. Once that sunset began, I craved beauty over buddies.
I had eyes and stomach for nothing but the city and the sky. My concentration hushed the air. The wedding-dressed mannequin in a window above gave me a fluffy white nod of approval before insisting I photograph her.
The sunset colors brightened to urgent orange. Boston’s brick and glass grew warm and glowed darkly.
Strains of conversation wafted back from my abandoned tour group, speaking of pregnancy, conferences, and traffic jams. Words floated into the pink air.
Increasingly creepy, I darted to the front of the group to snap the whole scene. “This is far,” a blogger sighed. “Where’s the next chocolate place? All those little samples just made me more hungry.”
The sky became angry-beautiful. Neon coral screeched against cornflower blue. Boston’s roof-tops poked upward, demanding, “Hey, let me in the pretty clash!” Store-lights shone yellow squares into the mix.
Neon by the earth competed with the heavens. “BOSTON!” hollered a wall of garish tourist tees. “HARVARD!” “GREEN MONSTAH!” and so on. “Hey!” commanded the sky, “elevate your taste!”
So I did, eyes sliding up the slick length of the Hancock Building. Splatters of sunset sloshed it, and the tower took it easily, like, “Yeah, I do this every few days. So it goes when you’re this pretty and shiny. You absorb the lovely, left and right.” Squat Trinity Church nodded, deep-voiced affirming: “True.”
And what of the random blimp? That blimp blooped around the sunset swirls as if put there on purpose to enhance photos. Vera Wang’s mannequin craned her neck at it from her bay window, hands on her hips.
Just then I realized we had arrived at our final Chocolate Tour destination: Max Brenner.
Hot chocolate of three different hues steamed on a circular tray. Bloggers shifted their iPhones to another hand to lift the paper cups and pour the heavy, frothed beverage towards tongues.
I made such a fool of myself trying to take my own happy picture that the Chocolate Tour leader offered to take my camera and snap it. Do you know how hard it is to try to drink from a cup while also attempting to show a camera what the liquid inside looks like? After experimentation, I deem it mathematically impossible.
Our tour staggered out of the chocolate den, fizzing full of sugar and cocoa froth. The sky had become a magenta like hot breath, or like angelic flames billowing from the calmly silver buildings lining Copley Square.
I wondered about the people who live and work on Newbury Street. How often do they remember how pretty it is? Do they feel as cosy in their golden-glowing rooms as they look?
My naughtiness in beauty-soaked distraction was such that the group was blocks away. I jogged over to thank them and wish them a pleasant beyond. I turned, and then it was just me, the city, and the sky.
The pink vanished as the sun hurled downward. Popcorn poofs of white popped around the Prudential, blobs of color like when second grade students jam paintbrushes against paper. I slipped in an earphone and flipped on disco. Blackness slammed across the sky as I returned through Copley. The place was afire with lights and life.
Full of chocolate, I paused to watch the other humans. Several sat strangely on the library stairs, staring at the square’s view. “Let’s be naughty and be alone with the beauty for a time,” they seemed to say… and I agreed.