A few minutes ago, a young boy showed me his rest stop ice cream. The vanilla cream painted his lips as a mother discussed the day with her family one row ahead. It was a sprinkled moment. A short glimps at innocence. His short black hair didn’t hide his dark brown eyes as the beige cone rested in his little hands.
A smile swiped at me as he turned to get a better look. He sits buckled in front of me, just a little to the left. We are both on a late ride home after an eventful weekend. I’m sure he will finish the treat before we arrive. Now, I am wondering, like always…thinking. “When will he realize that the sweet simple licks of joy will not be endless”.
Just like his dairy pleasure, things will occur. Some he can control but despite his best efforts others he will not be able to. Holding on to things will be very difficult. He could drop the iced treat or next time mom will not have the time to walk across the cluttered parking lot and past the restrooms to the strip of shops.
It is possible that his favorite flavor could run out. Possibly one sunny day while distracted a strawberry lump could melt and drip over his tiny knuckles causing him to cry during a sunny afternoon in July. What if a speculative Shih Tzu steals a scoop as he stared at a Magpie. I wonder which of those will come true and how it will impact him.
Wish I received a text or call right before so I could preserve his innocence for just another day, hour, minute. Will he be forced to eat his ice cream faster or hold it with two hands after the first incident? Must he start saving money to one day buy his own when mom says “No” Sadly, I’ll never know when he’ll realize these challenges in life.
Realities of temporary joy. Today is because it just is.
I can’t even remember when I noticed these things. Maybe…when I was three, My dad melted from my home forcing my adolescent mom to pack a few bags for us and move further north. Not Orlando North; cancel my plans for the day north. She ran with my brother and I with check in luggage and our foolishness as a carry ons.
They obviously divorced and I randomly lost a choice. At five pm or the age; maybe both I was shipped like a packed snack to live with my aunt. It was six months of Dominican frios, frios and school en la Capital. It was a lie that got me there. I was to visit family but was then left there for months. It took a similar lie to get me back to winter.
It could have been at 7, as chilly streets of New York City once again became my home because dad grew tired of my flavor. I traded waiting for the 2:15pm ice cream truck for a Brooklyn slice from Gino’s. Another fib carried me up, up and to the east. It’s was supposed to be just for Christmas but 20 years later I was still there.
I envy my fellow passenger. It’s so cheap and easy to satisfy his sweet thoughts. He probably thinks he can eat ice cream forever. Winter, spring, summer and fall. His cone always available. I know he can’t eat it every day but would never tell him. Having knowledge like that can be a curse. Souring every spoon of chocolate or strawberry consumed.
I can live with a burned tongue but he shouldn’t yet. If he asked me, I would tell him to try every flavor. The scooper can go as deep as the lowest ridges in the Pacific. Just eat slowly so you can taste the difference each time. I envy my little neighbor because for him, ice cream, sprinkled hugs and a solid cone is all he needs.
By Amaury Genao