Black Raspberry

December 26, 2007
By Nicole Starrett, North Andover, MA

I used to have this thing against Black Raspberry ice cream. Every time I ordered it, the ice cream fell off the cone. No matter what cone I chose—sugar, waffle, or plain—the ice cream would simply rather be on the ground.
The whole saga began when I was six. One summer evening my family and I went out for ice cream, and I ordered, yes, Black Raspberry. After a few licks, the ice cream fell splat to the pavement. Granted, the scooper had placed it upon the cone a bit haphazardly. And it was slightly humid, so the ice cream did sort of a slouch-maneuver off the cone…
Anyways, there were tears, and then my dad bought me another one, giving me strict instructions to lick the ice cream at the base so as to adhere it to the rim of the cone. This time, the ice cream had barely melted when it leapt off! I remember clutching the cone, now light and hollow, in my small fist. To the six year old there is nothing more tragic than a fallen ice cream. Mine was bleeding purple.
A few more ice cream outings, a few more Black Raspberry “accidents”, and my family laughed. But I was keeping track, and over the years the tallies accumulated. An instinct in my bones told me, “something’s not right…”.
My affliction escalated from comically ironic to full-fledged maddening, and even embarrassing at times. I’m not generally superstitious, but every time I got Black Raspberry it toppled, as if the words coming from my mouth were some secret cipher that magnified the force of gravity by mind-boggling proportions. The curse got to the point where I was barely making contact before, “Oops, there it goes.”
Finally, I vowed to abstain from “BR”. Black Raspberry wasn’t my favorite flavor, but it was up there on the list. A single episode of what appeared as mere clumsiness had initiated the entire collapse of my ice cream hierarchy! I had to take action. I declared war on Black Raspberry.
Whenever I scanned the list of flavors, there it was between Almond Praline and Butter-crunch—glaring at me. I glared back. “Cookie Dough,” I would say defiantly.
The process took self-discipline, but slowly, I regained my confidence. I was able to read the flavors list with ease, my eye passing unflinchingly over my former nemesis. I had conquered, or so I thought…
This summer I was standing in line at a local ice cream shop, the one I have frequented since childhood, the shop whose pavement has taken on a faint purple tinge. I was about to order when it hit—a fledgling Black Raspberry craving!
Caught by surprise, I stammered, “Black Raspberry, please.”
The frightened young boy replied, “I-In a dish?”
“Dish,” I nodded quickly, thrusting a crumpled bill into his palm.
While he scooped I tried to compose myself—I was practically shaking. “How could I?” I thought. I had over fifty flavors to choose from, and I picked the one flavor guaranteed to initiate my demise—a second time! I leaned on the sticky, sprinkle-coated counter, my face panic-stricken, looking like a doomsdayist. Slowly, I reached out my hand to receive the dish. Two satanic scoops.
I stumbled away from the counter and prepared myself for the worst. Ready to die alone, I found a secluded bench. I closed my eyes and brought the spoon to my lips. Nothing. Another spoonful. I waited for a crack in the sky, a sign. Still nothing.
I relaxed, beginning to enjoy the smooth raspberry goodness. In what seemed like minutes the ice cream was gone. I looked down at my bowl and suddenly it struck me—it was mutual surrender! After so many years, our luscious reunion! My heart swelled with apology.
Later, as I was driving home, my joy over the event began to subside. Then the truth emerged and hit me, hard and fast. In my state of shock, I hadn’t realized what I had done! It wasn’t mutual surrender at all—I had been tricked! Gripping the wheel, I flashed back to the scared boy holding a cone in one hand, dish in the other. I saw the hollow cone from so long ago, the splattered ice cream on the ground. I saw my empty dish, stark and white. I sighed, and in my stomach, the victor curdled with satisfaction.

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