She had been gone for two weeks, but to me it felt like eternity. Every time I’d open the door to our apartment I’d be greeted by her sweater slung over the back of the sofa, her favorite earrings by the sink when I brushed my teeth and the smell of her perfume on the pillows as I lay down to sleep. Seeing the vestiges of our life together made it even harder for me to accept that she was never coming back.
I poured myself into work as the days trudged by and as the weeks blurred into months, until one day I came into work to find a cookie on my desk.
Now this cookie wasn’t your average boring old cookie that you buy along with your coffee on the way to the office. No, this cookie was one of those boutique things you get from one of those specialty places. It had been wrapped in clear cellophane with a frilly pink ribbon and was smothered in thick pink frosting.
I instantly knew it was delivered it to the wrong cubicle so I picked it up and took it to the one person I was sure it was meant for.
“Hey Susan, this accidentally ended up on my desk, it’s for you.”
Susan had just gotten married about a month ago, and her and her new husband were still in that puppy love, honey moon phase.
Susan smiled and happily took the cookie. I was already walking away when she called out to me, “John, wait, it’s addressed to you.”
Incredulous, I turned back to find that, sure enough, on the underside of one of the tassels my name was clearly written.
“It doesn’t say whom it’s from,” Susan pointed out as I searched for any sign of its origins.
“No, it doesn’t,” I mumbled to Susan as I walked back to my desk. I placed the cookie to the side and resumed working on a report that I had been compiling for the past week.
It wasn’t until end of business that I realized I had worked through lunch again and my stomach growled obnoxiously. I leaned back in my chair and saw at the corner of my desk the pink clad cookie.
“What the heck,” I said aloud, taking the cookie out of the wrapper and stuffing half of it into my mouth.
The pink frosting had deviously misled me into believing that I was about to enjoy a sugar cookie; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was in fact an M&M cookie. After finishing my snack, I packed up my stuff and headed home for the night.
The next day, I found another cookie on my desk; however, instead of pink ribbon and pink frosting, the cookie was in a small clear box with a plain white label. It was still addressed to me, but this time the label also read: Triple Chocolate Chip.
I smiled at the cookie. It was my favorite kind.
The day after that it was Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond. And the day after that it was Rainbow Sprinkles, and after that it was Honey Nut Oatmeal Raisin.
This continued for the rest of the week and I resolved to find the mysterious cookie sender. I started by asking people around the office and friends I had lost contact with, but no one was taking credit for the cookies.
One day, an idea hit me. Uncharacteristically, I excitedly walked straight to Susan’s cubicle.
“What if I go around the city tasting cookies, trying to pair up flavors?” I proposed.
Susan considered this for a moment and added, “Worst-case scenario, you get to eat another good cookie,” she smiled and continued, “Best-case scenario, you find the bakery who is sending you the cookies and you can find out who has been paying for the orders.”
Over the next few months, Susan and her husband came out cookie hunting with me. As time progressed, I started to see my old friends again and they too adopted the cookie hunt as their newest hobby.
Soon, it got to the point that I had to begin scheduling with who I would be going cookie hunting with. It all was so exciting for everyone, and it didn’t take much time for all my friends to start speculating that I had a secret admirer.
To Susan it was, “Terribly romantic!”
As months rolled by, I was getting no closer to finding my secret cookie sender. I was so consumed in the novelty fun of my quest that I wasn’t entirely conscious of what the date was.
It was a Tuesday morning that I found a box of White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with a letter stuck to the top.
I considered the cookies for a moment and opened the letter. My breath caught at the script.
At the time I’m writing this letter to you, I know I’m running out of time, and I wont be here with you for much longer.
Ever since we learned that I’m sick we haven’t laughed as much as we used to. There are so many things I wish for right now; but most of all, I just wish I had more time to be in love with you.
I hope that my cookies have brightened your days. If I know you like I think I do, then I’m sure you’ve been scouring the city looking for where they’ve been coming from. I know how much you love scavenger hunts, and hope that in this time you’ve learned to smile again.
I know you will always love me, and that you will never forget the love we shared, but I also want you to move on with your life. I understand if you need more time, but I want you to find love again. I want you to know the joys of a family and the happiness of growing old with someone.
I want to thank you for making me the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I want to thank you for being everything to me; my rock, my happiness, my one true love.
This is the last of the cookies, as you know they are my favorite kind. I want you to go out and share them, just like I want you to go out and share your love.
With You Always,
By the end of the letter I was openly crying, not caring how loudly I was sobbing or who saw me; it was dated the day before Jen had passed.