28 June 2006

Midsummer Night Ice Cream

A wave of cold air gently lifts the girl's black hair off her shoulders and ruffles the pink skirt of her dress as she steps inside. She breathes, inhales. Sharp, crisp freezer air fills her lungs. Two quick steps and she's there. She presses her nose against the glass—just tall enough, on tip-toes, to see above the white steel case. She knows what she wants—she knew before she walked in the shop. She knew when he said the words: "Let's go get ice cream."

He bends down to her, "What do you want?"
"Chocolate," she replies.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." Her eyes never leave the buckets of creamy colors in front of her.
"Don't you want to try something else?" he urges. "Chocolate chip?"
She shakes her head. There is nothing else. Thirty-one flavors—Vanilla, Strawberry, Butter Pecan, Lemon Ice, Orange Sherbet, Mint Chip, Pink Bubble Gum, Rocky Road—never, not for her. Chocolate—only chocolate.
And she says it: "Chocolate on a cake cone."

Her wish is granted—a silver scooper dives into the chocolate tub—she wins her prize. He bends down and presents the trophy, one scoop of chocolate on a cake cone—a single rich orb balanced on the rim of its pale yellow chalice. She receives it with both hands. She kisses it. Her lips touch its milky surface and the sweet chocolate cream dissolves in her mouth.

Yielding to her cool enchantment, she must be guided across the threshold with his firm hand to a nearby bench. She sits, head bowed. In silence, she eats her ice cream as fireflies dance in the thick air of a warm summer night.


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