A Cold Day for Ice Cream

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I watch a little girl eat ice cream with her dad on the pier. She looked no more than nine years old, with braided short hair sticking up in most places that matched the color of her huge chocolate eyes. A man next to her handed the girl a jacket. I was pretty sure that he was her dad. He wore pressed slacks and a green polo shirt. His hair was neatly combed and his face freshly shaven.
They ate ice cream and watched the waves. What I didn't know was that that was the second time in her whole eight years that she ever saw her father for he was fighting in a war for her. He saw his best friends die, and then learned not to have any. Every night, before he fell asleep, he would curse his good fortune for not joining his friends because he had lost too many and destroyed too much. Not even his initial motivation empowered him.
The little girl who wore his jacket in the chilled air was a stranger, a naïve nuisance of a distraction. And he kicked himself for thinking it, and for knowing it was true. He only fought the war now because it was the mechanic thing for him to do, after all the years he had been. There was no more soul in it. He was silly to think there was ever soul in it.
A small gasp interrupted his thoughts, but was quickly forgotten as he reached delved into the new conclusion he had just reached a moment before. His good luck, his old life, his stranger of a daughter was at fault for his misery. They kept him from dying with his old pals, from disappearing in a rogue midnight rave when the chance was perfect. The battle cries of the fearless echoed in his mind, melding into the cry of anguish and the unholy sound a man makes when he realizes that the trigger was pulled. The sound is always cut short by the bullet piercing his flesh, drilling through the muscle, and lodging itself into the heart.
The sound pulls his eyes to his shoulder, fragments of shrapnel burrowed into his marrow. It's all her fault. He can't even look at the little girl who calls him “Daddy”. Instead he hears the cries of those he couldn't save; he had to come back for her. The roar of gunfire fills his ears, as the smoke and haze blot out his vision. Those men were gone, because he couldn't save them, because he had a reason to go home alive. A reason he didn't want. What I saw was an old man walking down the boardwalk with ice cream and no jacket, a young girl trying to grasp his hand while he walked quickly, staring at his shoes.





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B.R.Nack said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Wow that was very well done!
 
LilygS said...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm
I don't know how it happened, but it's suppose to say by LilygS... oh well, thanks for reading!!!!
 
You Little Tarte said...
Feb. 16, 2011 at 9:36 am
Very insightful for a writer so young.  
 
chasincal said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm
A beautifully-written and haunting story.  I can't wait to read more.
 
Sarah B said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm
This was a beautiful piece.  So well written with so much detail.  It's a great title too!  I hope the writer keeps on writing!!
 
KimA said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 11:31 am
Love how this story shows the cost of war is far more then body counts and physical injuries.  Well done.
 
LuckyinLA said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 11:14 am
A very well written and moving piece. This is a great social comment on the effects war has on the men and women who fight to protect their country.
 
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