In the basement, you keep a spare freezer for extra necessities – a turkey on sale in October that will do for Thanksgiving; the fruits of a 10-for-$10 sale. When your son calls to say he will be bringing your granddaughters to visit, you want to have something to offer them. Children love ice cream, you know, but you have not met these children. What flavors would they like? Your son says anything will do. But you want to be sure. You buy ice cream and keep it in the basement freezer. You present a different flavor on every visit.
You chose this one because it is bound to have something everyone will like. The granddaughters are shy, but smiling. They eat all the strawberry and vanilla, but leave the chocolate.
When your children were young, they loved orange sherbet. Your granddaughters are clearly children of a different time.
Apparently sherbets of all flavors have fallen out of favor with modern children.
Your son’s wife mentions that this is her favorite flavor. The granddaughters seem to like it too, though they pick out the nuts.
The ice cream is the same shade as your granddaughters’ skin, and just as smooth. You realize their visits bring you joy. You did not expect joy.
Your son proudly tells you that when he buys this flavor, he still pours on chocolate syrup from a can. Your oldest granddaughter loves it too, he says. You smile.
Mint chocolate chip
You buy this flavor in the summer, to ease the ever-present heat. Your granddaughters finish quickly so they can play with the Tinkertoy set you brought down from the attic. You offer your daughter-in-law a cup of coffee. Her people come from the south, after all.
Your granddaughters poke at the cherries. The older one eats some, slowly, saying they are too cold and hurt her teeth; the younger one leaves them all in the bowl. You move that box to the back of the basement freezer and tell your son that maybe they’ll like that flavor when they’re older. You wonder if it will be true.
Chocolate marshmallow swirl
Your oldest granddaughter tells you this is her favorite flavor. You glance at your son’s pale skin, his blond hair under the kitchen light, and then at the dark skin of your daughter-in-law, her jet-black curls. You clear the empty bowls without comment.
- Laura Lucas is an alumna of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop and an Artist Trust EDGE graduate. Her writing has appeared in Beat the Dust, Falling Star Magazine, Line Zero, Imaginaire, The Poetic Pinup Revue, Vapid Kitten, and It Starts With Hope, the blog for The Center for Victims of Torture.
Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation's permanent art collection. Forrest's expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. (@artgrafiken on Twitter, website here)