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Susan Faulkner clicks away on her laptop computer, composing an email to her boss. She has the front window drapes open, revealing the view of the small-town neighborhood. A picture of her late husband and their now eight-year old son resides next to the keyboard. She sends the email just as the tune of the ice cream truck drifts into hearing.
God! That tune. If only they’d pick something better.
Instant regret surges through her- her late husband’s brother owns the small ice cream truck business. He had tried to build an ice cream empire, but in his failure he was reduced to an inventory of three trucks and rights to play an old kiddie tune from the early 20th century.
I suppose Timmy’ll be running in, begging for another scoop.
No sooner had she thought this than a small knock came at the door to her home office. The door swings slightly ajar, creaking on its hinges. I need to oil that, she reflects. Timmy sneaks in, yet unaware that his mother is watching. A mischievous smile spreads across Susan’s face.
“Yes, Timmy, you may have some ice cream.” Timmy jumps, turning in shock, and recovers with a delightful smile. He accepts the money from Susan and runs out the door. She turns to the window, watching the small boy run down to the truck. He runs with a slight limp; resulting from a complication during pregnancy. She is suddenly overcome with warm feelings of thankfulness, strong enough to cause her to look away for a moment.
Looking back, she sees Timmy running back up the driveway, ice cream in hand. The truck driver, a handsome man to say the least, hands a cone to the next girl in line. I could do well with him.. Susan ponders momentarily. Mulling over it, she decides to let it be. Besides, it’s been only a few months, and it’d be hard on Timmy.
Nevertheless, she watches the man in the truck. The more she looks, the more alluring he seems. The innocent crowd of kids and annoying tune become less of a matter. Coincidently looking up through her second story window, the man makes swift eye contact with Susan, with a deep, knowing gaze. The seconds draw out for hours before the man breaks contact, turning to pick another cone.
Susan, shocked at the fact that the man seemed to know she was watching, forces herself to look away. Her eyes immediately go to the picture of her late husband, and a sudden twinge of regret wraps its cold hand around her heart.
That night, Susan microwaves a frozen cheese pizza for her and Timmy to eat. They sit on the couch in the living room, watching the Olympics. Timmy, although ordinarily a vivacious eater, doesn’t take nearly a bite of his pizza.
Susan leans towards her son, with a worried look drawn over her face.“What’s up, Timmy? You haven’t had a bite yet.”
Timmy opens his mouth to reply, and out comes not words, but a steaming hot liquid mass of the food he ate over the last twelve hours. It spews all over the floor, the couch and worst of all, all over Susan. Timmy’s forehead erupts in a cold sweat, dripping and sliding down his pale face, giving him a glistening look, as if he had just finished an intense workout.
Susan gives out a quick surprised yell, and rushes to pick up her son, who at this point has curled up, shuddering in a semi-fetal position. She takes Timmy up in her arms in a mad dash. Reaching his bedroom, she tucks him into his racecar-themed bed. Susan kneels down next to him, worried and hard of breath. Timmy is now on the verge of sleep. She reaches a shaking hand up to his sweaty brow.
I can feel the heat without touching him. This is bad.
After laying a moist washcloth on his forehead, Susan walks to the phone, meaning to dial the doctor. She calls, setting up an appointment for the next day. Hanging up the phone, she sits down on her front porch, watching the sunset throw magnificent colors across the sky. Susan can’t help but think the worst.
The next morning they both drive up to the doctor’s office up in town. They reach the office by 7:15, fifteen minutes before the appointment, as per the requirements. Susan fills out the usual paperwork while in the lobby. Age, height, weight, symptoms, past visits, the whole thing.
Timmy sits next to his mother in a tired daze, looking about with glazed eyes. Music plays in the background, very much like that which would be played in an elevator. An elevator, or quite possibly an ice cream truck?
This, of course, escapes Susan, focused on paperwork and worried about Timmy. She finishes up just as Timmy is announced. She looks up, and utter, bewildering shock slaps her in the face.
It can’t be. No, no, no. It just can’t be.
Susan’s gaze rested upon that same handsome man who had given Timmy his ice cream. A wide grin stretches across his face, as if he read her very thoughts.