Ice Cream Sundaes

August 2, 2010
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Sweltering. The Chastity home was ablaze with the heat and four hot, sticky teenagers. They sat on the couch together, like four life-sized dolls, arm to arm, leg to leg, their skin melding to the next person’s like Velcro. They didn’t look at each other, and only occasionally shifted as they felt each others’ sweat sliding on them.

Finally, John Chastity slowly pulled away, his skin making a wet slurping sound. He glared in disgust at Christian Richardson, who blushed and shrugged.

“This is so weak.” Virginia Copeland sighed as she pulled her lean body up, her long stringy blonde hair flowing behind her like a ribbon in the sun. “Can’t we watch television or something?”

John sighed and replied, “My father won’t let any of us watch his new 24-inch. Yesterday, he caught Sarah watching The Beverly Hillbillies when he came home and he went ape.”

“Well, if this is all there is to do, it’s been a gas, John. Me and Christine are gonna book…”

“No! No, we can tie-dye some shirts and get some people for a phone booth party-”

“Ugh.” Virginia dismissed the thought with a flick of her slender wrist. “My closet is full of tie-dye and phone booth parties? That is so square, like 1950’s. I’d rather run down the cul-de-sac naked than to be caught doing that.”

John looked at her and before he could stop himself, he thought, I’d like to see that. Whoa. Shaking his head, he scolded himself, Not cool. To her, he said, “Well, we um… we can…. Christian knows something we can do, right Chris?”

He grabbed his friend’s arm and pulled him up. Christian’s pink face flushed and John shrugged it off to the heat. “Uh, yeah. We could um, listen to the new Alvin and the Chipmunks album.”

Christine Kennedy squealed and jumped up. “No way! You bagged the new Chipmunks album already?”

He nodded uneasily and she hugged him. “Far out!”

Christian looked over at John, who winked. Virginia huffed. “Well, I suppose we could hang around for a little longer. Where’s your record player?”

“Upstairs,” John smiled.

The girls started up to his room and John held his hands out for double high-fives. “Yes! I think if Virginia was stoked. If everything stays cool, she’ll want to go steady and I can walk her to school Monday! And man- I think Christine likes you.”

Christian smiled faintly and gave him the fives. “Yeah. Here’s the record.” He reached into his knapsack and pulled the vinyl out.

At that moment, John’s mother walked through the hanging beads that separated the kitchen and the living room. “John, how are your friends? I made you all a treat!”

He gave her a thumbs-up. “Bih… I mean, twitchin’ Mom! We’re gonna listen to the Chipmunks for a while.”

Mrs. Chastity frowned and proclaimed, “Oh no you’re not!”

His face fell and a storm cloud formed over his eyebrows. “What? Why?” he cried.

“John, you know those squeaking voices give me a headache.”

“Aw, Mom-”

“John, your father spoke to you about this. You will not play that record in his house. Besides, it’s too beautiful a day to be inside the house. This is your youth- go outside!”

With darkened eyes, John turned to Christian and ordered, “Go get the girls.”

The younger boy sighed and trudged up the stairs. John turned back to his mother. “Mom…”

“Mind your tongue John. Come help me with this ice cream.”

They walked back through the beads and John’s eyebrows shot up when he saw the four bowls of ice cream. Each were brimmed with perfectly formed scoops of snowy vanilla, creamy and smooth, against each other and still so cool that he could make out the condensed air rising from it. Swirls of fluffy whip cream sat atop the scoops, appearing so light that it could rise and join the clouds in the heavens. Mrs. Chastity had taken the effort to slide chocolate syrup along these little masterpieces, so that it was one long zigzag and appeared striking against the pure white of the cream. With all of the care in the world, she had topped each off with a cherry, red and voluptuous, bursting with juices that traced red down the mountains. A banana behind the ice cream completed the scenic view and John didn’t want to do anything to ruin them.
“Come, John, and do be careful. I will not be replacing any, should you drop them.” Mrs. Chastity warned him.

She took one serving dish that held two bowls and John took the other. When they walked back into the living room, Virginia had her arms crossed and Christine held a mask of disappointment. Virginia shot him a hot look; her friend lowered her head.” Christian glanced at the Chastitys nervously.

“I’m sorry you must leave so soon dears, but I made you all some ice cream to keep cool in this heat,” the mother pleasantly smiled.

Virginia stepped forward. “Thank you very much for your kindness Mrs. Chastity.” She reciprocated the smile as she took a bowl eagerly. Christine followed suit, mumbling a barely audible “thank you ma’am”. Christian only took his after John had grabbed one. He gave her a big smile and hurried off after the others.

“So Virginia. School’s on Monday right? School is the pits.” John could barely avoid tripping, she was walking so fast.

“If you say so,” she replied, wrapping some whip cream around her index finger and licking it. Her tongue gathered it up slowly.

“I was wondering if… if… if you wanted to walk there together?”

“Um, no. Daddy drives me.”

“Oh… well…” he stopped, but the girls hurried along. Christian came up behind him and shrugged.

“You want to come over to my house and eat them? My parents won’t be home for awhile.” He asked hopefully.

John shook his head. “No… I’m just going to eat it by myself. See ya Chris.”

He walked off to the park, leaving Christian by himself. Still walking, Christine watched them, then turned to Virginia. “That was pretty harsh.”

“Yeah, so? He’s a total skuzz. Beverly Hillbillies? Please.”

“Still…”

Virginia stopped and stared down at her friend. “Excuse me. He was talking to me. He was my problem. All you had to deal with was that spaz bugging you.”

“Christian’s not a spaz.”

“Whatever. All I know is that I’m gonna find some studs to share this with.”

Christine gasped and exclaimed, “Virginia! Have you seen sundaes as radical and detailed as these? Mrs. Chastity makes the best sundaes in the whole neighbourhood! These are special!”

Virginia rolled her eyes. “Chrissy, get out of the ‘50s. It’s just ice cream. It’s not gonna last forever. What’s the point of having it if you’re not going to share it?”

Unconvinced, Christine shook her head feverishly and looked at her friend with pitying eyes. But something had already caught the older girl’s eyes.

Over by the pond, there was a group of men in military uniforms, standing tall and chatting amongst themselves.

“Mmmm,” she smiled slyly, “that’s the kind of dudes I want to hang with. A big, strong soldier boy!”

Her friend was less enthused. “Those guys must be in their twenties!”

“So? We’re seventeen.” Virginia pushed past Christine and made her way to the men, clutching her bowl.

“Hey,” she smiled.

The boys, three of them, looked down at her, then at each other. “Hey,” the dark-haired one replied.

“How long have you been in the army?”

“We’re headed to Vietnam in a couple of weeks,” the blond boy smirked, cracking his gum.

“Well, you boys wouldn’t be interested in enjoying my sundae before you go, would you?” She tilted her head and gave them her best Donny Osmond smile.

The boys looked at each other, then at her ice cream.

“Uh, it’s a little melted.” The first one pointed.

She chuckled. “Trust me… it won’t make a bit of difference.”

He shrugged. “Okay. Let’s go.”

They started off and Virginia followed, turning and giving Christine a wink.

The younger girl gasped and shook her head. Her hair was more brown than blonde and was thicker and shorter than Virginia’s. She was more stout than her rail thin best friend and more self-conscious. Christine walked to her house and sat on the steps, wondering what John and Christian were up to, just as John was wondering what Virginia was up to.

He was sitting under a tree, on a park bench, his sundae beside him. He was disappointed that she had blown him off, so much so that he hadn’t bothered to invite her to eat with him. He’d eat hers, she’d eat his, it would have been out of sight. But it wouldn’t happen now. All he could focus on now was finding someone to share his sundae with. Only dorkos ate ice cream alone.

The proof was in the people at the park. Foxes and dudes all hanging around, sipping a shared milkshake, eating ice cream, salads, fries, see everyone, even sweat hogs, were doing it. Why couldn’t he? What was so wrong with him that he couldn’t get a fine girl to be by his side?

John wasn’t a bad looking dude- neat brown hair, healthy white skin, he was tall, nice, the pitcher on the school baseball team, from a good family. So what’s going on?

He picked up the banana and absent mindedly started hitting himself in the face. When he realized what he was doing, he quickly put it down in disgust, hoping that no one saw that. Hoping that it would just disappear, John pushed the sundae away and sighed.

A blonde couple, walking together as close as possible, intimately sharing a milkshake giggled past him. John sighed. He’d even settle for that Christine girl at this point… just so he wouldn’t have to be the only one going solo.

He snuck another look at the sundae. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad indulging alone. After all, it’s not like a crime to eat your own ice cream. There would be more of it for him and he wouldn’t have to worry about any girls being greedy or even worse, acting like they were interested.

Yeah, John lifted his head and smiled, yeah, it’s cool to eat alone. Then he looked over at the blonde couple again and put his head in his hands. Who was he fooling?

Only dorkos ate alone.

Not too far away, Christian was leaning against his own tree, wondering about his sundae. It would be nice to eat it with someone. But not just any someone, his special someone. Christian was too shy to approach the person, which was mortifying enough.

His father wouldn’t let him forget that Christian lacked what the elder Richardson expected a man to be. His parents would probably fall out in shock if he started courting anyone.

With a sigh, he slid down and rested the bowl in his lap. He wondered about John and Christine and Virginia. John and Christine were his only friends and total wildcards. But he didn’t want to break up what little he had by revealing who he longed for. Virginia was just a sosh. If she found out, she’d spread it everywhere and then who wouldn’t know?

He shrugged. Maybe thinking about a person while he took on the ice cream was just as good as actually eating it with them. Maybe. He tilted his head back and covered his eyes with his hand. Yeah and maybe he wasn’t a total chicken.

“Hey man.”

Christian’s eyes popped open and he saw someone before him.

“You okay man?” a guy in a military uniform asked.

“I’m solid.”

“Yeah, well you won’t be if you get heat stroke. You better stay hydrated and take better cover. Here,” he pulled a banana out of his pocket and handed it to Christian, “potassium’ll keep you in good mind. I gotta get back to uh, my girl.”

He walked off and Christian watched him. He slowly unpeeled the banana and slid it into his mouth. Well. It wasn’t so bad.

Meanwhile Christine had decided to get inside. Her father was already home and heard her. “Chrissy!”

“Yes, Daddy?”

“What’s that you’ve got?”

Christine smiled and sighed. “Just some ice cream Daddy. A nice lady gave it to me and I’m just putting it in the icebox to keep it cool so that I can eat it later.”

“You’re not eating it now? Your old man can’t hold onto a bowl of ice cream for more than five minutes. Well, good for you. Good for you. Self-control is good for the future.”

“No Daddy. I’m going back out. Love you.”

He grunted in response and she laughed and kissed his forehead. She didn’t have to eat it now. There was still plenty of time.

She headed out, ready to go to the park and maybe find someone to give her a ride to the skating rink. On the way, she passed the pond, where she passed right by Virginia.

Her friend was trying to brush off grass and dirt from her wrinkled bell bottoms. Her soldier boys had left her with only an empty bowl to stare into, but she knew that she looked terrible and saw no point.

She stood and looked at the bowl angrily. They had taken her ice cream and had none to give to her. When Virginia had asked them to write to her, they merely laughed. Tears formed in her eyes as she remembered and couldn’t even curse their names. She had never bothered to learn them.

What an idiot. She was alone, had no ice cream, and was totally dirty. She saw Christine walk by happily and wanted to call out, but how could she face her like this?

Virginia ran to the opposite end of the park and tripped over Christian, who had just finished the banana. Red crept up his neck.

“Sorry,” he muttered, helping her up.

Wide-eyed, she stared at his complete sundae. “You STILL have yours?”

The red began to infiltrate his face. “Well, yeah,” he admitted. “I’m sort of saving it for someone.”

She sniffed. “That’s kind of sweet. Any girl I know?”

He hesitated, then shook his head. “I don’t even know if I’m doing the right thing. I really like, um the m, but I don’t know how anyone will react. I mean, my parents, their parents, them. But I already know that they don’t think it’s right to share ice cream unless they’re you know, really heavy. Is it okay?” He asked her, a tiny moist film covering his eyes.

She looked at him, then pursed her lips. “You know man,” she started, “who cares? It’s just ice cream. Well, not to you, but mistakes happen. Ice cream is suppose to taste good, not make up sick with worry. Don’t be such a fuddy-duddy.”

He nodded slightly and looked back at her. “Wait, where’s yours?”

Virginia smiled sadly. “I made a mistake. Ice cream will never taste the same to me.”

They held each others’ gaze, then tears jumped back into her eyes. Christian stared straight ahead until she spoke.

“Can I have some of yours? Or maybe just the cherry? No one will notice.” she pleaded. He sighed. “I don’t think I should, Virginia.”

She nodded, then sobbed into her arms and he patted her on the back, wondering if John had eaten his.

But he didn’t have to worry. John’s ice cream had been in the sun a little too long. His banana was barely afloat and sailed aimlessly in a sea of viscous off-white remains. John sighed when he saw what he had allowed it to become.

“Sweet.”

Startled, John looked up to see a smiling Christine. He couldn’t help but notice the two cute little dimples etched into her cheeks…

“Hey Christine,” he smiled, “Did you already finish your sundae?”

“Yup.” She responded quickly.

“Oh. Well, I only had a little bit of mine. Do you want to finish it with me?”

Christine frowned. She didn’t like the desperation in his voice. What was she to him, a last resort? “Oh, sorry John. I think you waited too long to enjoy it with anybody… besides… I don’t just eat ice cream to eat it.”

And with that, she proudly walked off. But a hole grew in her stomach. She must have been the only one that didn’t even try to eat it with someone. Even John tried. Virginia had three soldiers to help her and Christian was cute enough to convince some girl to join him.

But because she had been too picky, it was probably doomed to sit in the ice box forever.

Way to go Chris.





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