Decisions, Goodbyes and Strawberry Ice Cream

May 20, 2008
By Ashley McAlpin, Simi Valley, CA

“Why is it so hot?” Cindy exclaimed.
Trevor grinned teasingly “I don’t know, maybe because its summer and we happen to live in the desert?”
“Hahahaha very funny Trevor thanks for stating the obvious.”
He laughed “I like to be helpful.”
Suddenly Cindy stopped and grabbed Trevor’s arm. “There’s Austin.”
She pointed down the street at one of their classmates who was goofing off and skateboarding with his friends.
Trevor didn’t like Austin. Austin had always been a bully. He had never treated Cindy well, often times he had teased her to the point of tears when they were smaller. Trevor had always defended her and had the scars and fading bruises to show it, yet Cindy had for many years considered herself half in love with the guy.
That had begun to change recently though, much to Trevor’s relief.
“I can’t believe I was so crazy about Austin.” She announced, remarking on her years of unrequited adoration.
They stood at a standstill there on the baking pavement. Austin and his buddies were heading their way; they hadn’t noticed the pair of them yet.
“I really don’t want him to see me.” Cindy admitted a bit shamefaced.
Trevor pointed to a nearby ice cream parlor. “Do you want to wait in there until he’s passed? I’ll order you an ice cream.”
Cindy nodded that she would like that. Trevor grabbed the door of the ice cream parlor when they came up to it. He held the door open as Cindy stepped inside out of the hot summer heat.
“How could I have been so stupid?” She asked. Trevor shrugged and said nothing. He assumed she was talking about Austin again. Trevor had heard all of this before but he knew Cindy needed someone to talk to, so he kept quiet and didn’t remind her that they’d had this conversation two or three times already. He simply directed Cindy to an open table and pulled out a chair for her to sit.
She slumped into the chair quickly. A limp hand hovered over her brow in a dramatic fashion as she continued to moan about her stupidity and poor choice in boys.
“I have prom coming up,” she groaned as she dragged her fingers down her face in defeat. “I need a date. No, not just a date.” She corrected herself while Trevor waited patiently, “I need a true gentleman.”
“What do you consider a gentleman to be?” Trevor inquired curious.
Cindy bit her lip and thought for a moment. Her heavy blonde hair slipped past her ear and hung over her pondering brown eyes. Trevor thought Cindy had the prettiest hair and the prettiest eyes. In fact Trevor thought Cindy was the prettiest girl he had ever met, but he had never told her.
“A gentleman,” Cindy began, leaning forward and closer to Trevor so that he could hear her over the roar of a nearby fan, “a gentleman is someone who would hold open doors for me, listen attentively, and pull out my chair when we go out on a date. He’d pay for dates too.”
She sighed. “A gentleman is considerate, trustworthy, and kind.”
Finished with her description of a true gentleman, Cindy began to pout. “If only such a guy existed,” she said.
Trevor sat there watching her. He had held the door open for her when they’d come into the ice cream parlor. He had pulled out her chair for her to sit down. He had even chosen an empty table near a fan so that they wouldn’t bake in the sun. He had also offered to buy her an ice cream cone. Wasn’t he a gentleman? Could he be what she wanted, what she was looking for? Was this his chance?
“I’m sure guys like that exist,” he told her.
She shook her head in the negative. “If they do they must be hiding from me, because I don’t know anyone like that.”
Trevor swallowed. That hurt. “I’m sure you do.” He told her, “But maybe you just haven’t realized it yet.”
“I doubt it,” she replied.
“You know, I could take you to prom if you’d like,” Trevor told her, bringing the subject back to its original tangent. “It’d be an honor.” He added.
Cindy looked at Trevor. Trevor was her best friend. She trusted him more than anyone. He was an all around good guy. Cool air stirred her short bangs playfully. It had been very considerate of Trevor to sit them by the fan, especially after she had been complaining about the heat.
She tried to picture herself taking Trevor to prom. He would be a good date; he would be a true gentlema…
Cindy suddenly lost her train of thought when the door to the ice cream parlor swung open. It hit the wall of the parlor with a thud.
Austin and his buddies hunkered inside joking and laughing. Cindy glanced over her shoulder and caught Austin’s eye.
He was a daredevil, a rebel. Austin was always up to something, something exciting and risky. His actions were fueled by a constant rush of adrenaline. Austin, unlike Trevor, was not a knight in shining armor, a royal gentleman; he was like a black knight or a thieving mysterious bandit.
Austin roughly dragged a chair over to Cindy’s table. “Hey there Cindy,” He drawled.
Cindy was dumbstruck and voiceless. Her heart was beating a thousand miles per hour.
“Prom’s next week.” Austin told her. Cindy, finding her voice, tried to speak up but Austin cut her off. “I’ll pick you up at six.” He told her standing up. “Wear red,” he added. “Blondes look good in red.”
Then he left, as suddenly as he had arrived. Cindy reached out for Trevor’s hand. “Can you believe that? Austin just asked me to prom!”
“He didn’t really ask you.” Trevor corrected. “Besides I thought you’d decided he was a jerk and you were looking for a gentleman to be your date.”
Cindy’s smile dropped a bit. Then she glanced outside at Austin’s retreating form. He wasn’t a gentleman. He was a jerk, but still. She was so ecstatic to go with him.
She turned back around to face Trevor. “I guess I didn’t know what I really wanted.”
Trevor’s chest tightened with disappointment. “I guess not.” He replied, knowing full well that she’d always known what she wanted and had only been pretending otherwise.
He got up to leave then, and he left Cindy at their table. She sat there alone licking the strawberry ice cream Trevor had bought her and day dreaming about her prom.
He thought about warning her that Austin wasn’t going to pick her up, that he’d asked her out as a joke, a cruel prank Trevor had heard him concocting with his friends at school, it would be the gentlemanly thing to do, to warn her wouldn’t it?
Trevor shook his head as he stepped outside. He didn’t want to be a gentleman anymore. “Bye Cindy.” He called out as he shut the door behind him.
“Bye!” She replied, not picking up on the finality of Trevor’s words.

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