She stood beside the ice cream truck, studiously examining the various frozen confections that were displayed on its side. There were so many choices and picking the proper one felt terribly important. She finally settled on a popsicle which consisted of alternating layers of chocolate and banana, and also requested one of the little men attached to a parachute, which she’d greatly enjoy launching from the second floor of her house later. She sat on the front porch and sucked her popsicle, the sweetness of it combined with the insistence of the July sun feeling like summer in a nutshell.
One of the red, white, and blue firecracker popsicles, obtained from the grinning ice cream man for two quarters. I sat on my front porch and sucked it, the coldness against my mouth shocking in the July sun, the top of it slowly dissolving. The bottom dripped, forming a trail of melted, sticky redness along my wrist. More and more of the stick was revealed as I chewed off bits of the softening ice, my tongue stained red and blue. It was Independence Day tomorrow. Down the street I could see five flags in corresponding colors flapping in the breeze.
Her chubby fingers were making small indentations in the paper cone. Expertly shielding her teeth with her lips, she took another big bite out of the snocone, the purple of the artificial grape flavoring having already stained her tongue. The crushed pieces of ice and syrup did little to fend off the merciless sun that beat down from its regal spot at the apex of the sky, but it was better than nothing. Walking beside her, her best friend held a heaping scoop of cherry, her fingers sticky from the drips. The neighborhood pool was only a block further now.
Salt Water Taffy
On the ride home from the music festival she stopped with the stranger she’d hitched a ride with at a truck stop. There was a row of paper lunch sacks filled with different varieties of salt-water taffy, sloppy black marker scrawls identifying the flavor of each. She procured a bag of cinnamon, chewy red chunks of candy safely individually contained in wax paper. Back in the car, her teeth dug into them as she reflected on the day, her first time seeing that man who was the sun she spun in forlorn orbit around in six and a half years.