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There are two things helped me get back into shape. First, I had started using the gym in our building. The trick was to find a time when all the elliptical machines weren’t in use. If you went between six and eight am forget it…packed with the pre-office corporate crowed and ditto for any time after 7pm. Most of my buildings workout crowd starting thinning out around ten pm.

At ten pm I could run on the elliptical like a work-out Medusa; pony tail flying, sweat pouring down my forehead and my underarms looking like two lagoons, without fear that there was someone standing behind me keeping time – or checking out my ass. This combined with eliminating food sins and a teeny weeny dinner and I’m talking Greek yogurt and granola seemed to be doing the trick. And so it was time to fall off the wagon.

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Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why now you might ask? There were two reasons. The first was this abysmal grey weather we had been having for the last three weeks, cloud, rain and a coolness that chilled you to the bone and could only be warmed by something sweet and sticky. The second reason for falling off the proverbial chocolate wagon was my nostalgia for New York. There are many exciting things about the New York besides the food but it’s the food that helps me remember them best. Food is like a memory box that encapsulates all my favorite moments. Breakfast for desert would be just the occasion.

I invited Casey for brunch at Max Brenner partly because I desperately needed her advice on how to approach Armand and partly because Max Brenner had the best hot chocolate in the city – I wouldn’t be surprised if they melted bricks of chocolate. Auntie Rukhsana’s request to find out what was troubling Armand had been weighing on my mind in a way only chocolate could alleviate. Casey was more than ready for a chocolate melt down. Her academic work was at a lull and having gone on a family vacation complete with parents, siblings and little nieces and nephews she was in the mood for girl talk and gossip.

She arrived wearing a cashmere turtleneck in aubergene over comfy yoga pants and a dark studded necklace around her neck. I in turn had taken a page from the cozy catalog and was wearing an oversized yak and wool cable knit poncho over skinny jeans. Casey gave me a monster hug before we sat down and began looking at the menu. If we craved death by chocolate then we had come to the right place. Max Brenner has eight different selections of hot chocolate all offered in a choice of milk or dark. I ordered the Mexican Spicy Hot Chocolate in a dark chocolate (with red chili, cinnamon and nutmeg and pepper) while Casey ordered The Italian Thick in a milk chocolate (with vanilla cream).

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sipping this delectable brew I began telling Casey my rendez-vous with auntie Rukhsana and about Armand and his mysterious ways. “Come to think of it,” said Casey, “he has dropped offline for the longest time…no posts, tweets or IMs.”

I had to admit Casey had a point. Armand had always been a little introverted in person but very active when he was plugged in. Just to confirm our assertions we both took a glance at our phones. Armand was definitely offline.

“Very intriguing” said Casey.

I began to ponder this as our very chocolate breakfasts arrived; mine was the Illegal Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Pancakes (with sixty percent dark chocolate cream, pure milk chocolate shavings, spiced pecans, caramelized bananas). Casey, in turn had ordered the Intense Black & White Chocolate Blintz (with whipped cream dollop, Belgian cocoa powder). This temporary bliss numbed my concern and by the end of the meal I was on a very chocolate high but this intense chocolate breakfast had also solidified by resolution. I had decided to ping Armand a little more aggressively the next couple of days and see how he responded.

“Let me know what you find out,” said Casey. “I love a man with secrets.”

Next Post: May 15. 

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