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Swiss Surprise

It is our first Christmas month without our elder sister, who has recently married and moved. I find myself missing her terribly. We used to share everything. She is my best friend. Despite the sadness, I try to find comfort in the advantages of the situation—more food to share among our smaller family.

One day, a pleasant surprise arrived at our doorstep. The neighbors who recently returned from Switzerland gifted us a bag filled with delicious chocolates. My younger brother and I are excited about the treat. However, the joy is bittersweet without our elder sister.

“Lindt Chocolate, Toblerone, Cailler Chocolate, Camille Bloch”, my brother and I joyfully announced the names of the chocolates, adding a playful touch to our attempt at the British accent. The excitement echoed with memories of my sister and me, who wished to go abroad just to eat branded chocolates. Also, our shared history is filled with countless memories that revolve around chocolates.

Back when I was in sixth grade, my sister had entrusted me with a parcel to safeguard. I found a chocolate box, a rose, a teddy bear, and a piece of paper inside the parcel. Unintentionally, I ended up eating all the chocolates inside the box before school time ended.

Upon returning home, my sister inquired about the parcel. With a guilty feeling, I confessed the unfortunate fate of the chocolates inside the box.

“You greedy, greedy little chipmunk. So, where’s the empty chocolate box?” She asked.

“That empty chocolate box. I threw it away”. I replied.

Unexpectedly, her reaction to my reply was furious, more than the reaction she had given when she first discovered I had finished all the chocolates. She cried even louder upon learning about the fate of the empty box, as if the discarded container held significance beyond its emptiness.

“But… but… there are no chocolates inside that box anymore. Also, I shared chocolates with my fr.. fr.. friends..By accident, we ate all the chocolates inside the chocolate box.. And and …That’s why I threw the empty box away. I am ss… s… sorry Akka” I stuttered.

Her tears puzzled me at that moment. But later, I learned it was a gift parcel she had received for Valentine’s Day. I came to understand the emotional value attached to that empty chocolate box—a heartfelt Valentine’s Day gift from someone close to my sister’s heart.

Despite the loss of the chocolates, she ought to have been thankful for me, as I successfully saved her other gifts from the school prefects and the Privacy of her love letter, which I had really forgotten to open.

With those memories, when we gather around to enjoy the chocolates, I can’t help but feel my sister’s absence. In an attempt to preserve some happiness for her, I decided to save half of my chocolate portion in a secret hiding spot, planning to share it with her when she visits.

Days passed, and just before Christmas, my sister returned home. I rushed to my room, retrieving the hidden chocolates with a victorious smile. To my surprise, there were already some chocolates on Akka’s table. These are the same ones we received from the neighbors. I asked her how she got that.

With a smile, my sister said that, our younger brother also saved some for her. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had the same thoughts as me.

Later that day, Father returned home from work. He hugged Akka warmly, as usual. Then he asked me to fetch a parcel from his office cupboard. To my surprise, that parcel is filled with more chocolate. A sizable portion that I can’t resist laughing about.

I also gave the father’s saved chocolate portion to Akka. Then I teased Amma, asking about her hidden chocolate portion. To my surprise, Amma ate all her chocolates without saving any. Disappointed, I turn my attention to the big red bag on Akka’s table.

Curiosity gets the better of me. So, I peeked into the bag and saw chocolates, snacks, biscuits, peanuts, and more – all the snacks we had over the past few days without saving any for Akka. Amma laughed, revealing that, despite Akka being married, she always keeps her portion safe until she returns.

With a mix of laughter and a teary eye, I followed Akka, asking for my chocolate portion back.

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