We All Scream for Ice Cream: A Short Story

She licked the red plastic spoon in a childlike and almost provocative manner.

I bet somebody has to eat a Blizzard now. I should get
paid for this product placement.  
"This is the life," she said. "Eating a Blizzard, watching the sunset on a hill. This is the world God imaged us living."

"If Dairy Queen was around 2000 years ago, Jesus would've multiplied a Reese's Blizzard on the Sermon at the Mount," he mischievously said.

"Shut up, Michael! I'm being serious. This," she twirled around like Maria in the Sound of Music, "..this is what it's all about."

"I know, I know. It is beautiful. I sometimes forget to look out there, out there and see just how large this city is. How large our country is. How massive the world is, and how small we are. It's awesome, really, it is. I'm not meaning to be sarcastic."

"But we aren't small, Michael. We weren't made to be small, but huge---lights.  We were made to be lights in the darkness, that glow like stars in the cosmos."

The sunset at Skinner's Butte in Eugene, OR.  
"YOU HEAR THAT UNIVERSE! YOU CANNOT CONTAIN ME! I AM A SUPERNOVA OF LIGHT AND YOU CAN'T SHUT ME OUT!" she yelled to the city below as she spread her arms, holding her Blizzard as an offering to the gods.

He looked at her in genuine awe. She was beautiful in moments like this. She was beautiful all the time, but in her elements, elevated above the masses, eating ice cream, watching as day and night waged war in wondrous colors, she was a goddess.

He looked down at the city below, all aglow in neon and incandescence, and knew it wouldn't last.

These brief moments of clarity and excitement and joy and lucidity where as brief as the setting sun.  Soon it would be dark, and she would dim, and the terrors of her darkness would torment them both.

"You tell 'em, Annie," he encouraged.

"You try it too, Michael, it's good for you. Speak something into existence. Tell anger to go to hell!"

"Nah. I'm okay. I'm not like you. I don't need to do this kinda stuff."

"Sure you do, you just don't know it. Say, "I'M TIRED OF BEING ANGRY AND THIS RAGE CAN GO TO HELL!"

A few neighboring stargazers cheered in mock support. A few laughed. Eyes were directed their way in annoyance. If he was going to do it before, he surely wasn't now.

"Haha. Okay. We've had our fun. We're making a scene now. Lets just finish our ice cream and go home."

"I'm not ready to go home yet. I want you to do this for me! Please!"

"I told you. I'm okay. I'm fine. I don't need to do things like this to feel better. I'm not even an angry person."

"Yes you are. And you're obviously self-conscious. Who cares about these people, they don't know you. Do it for me. Do if for yourself. You'll feel better."

"But I already told you. I'm fine. I'm good eating Ramen noodles down there, in the squalor of my apartment. This is beautiful, up here, it has meaning to me, too, but it doesn't make me more whole, Annie. I'm not broken."

He immediately knew his mistake. He implied that she was.

He waited for a half second and tried to wipe the horrified look off his face, "I'm sorry. You're right. I'll try it."

"I'M TIRED OF BEING AVERAGE!" he screeched about 20 decibels quieter than her. She was not impressed.

"I'M SICK OF BEING AN ANGRY PERSON!" he yelled louder, and instantly felt slightly better.  She was right. It did feel good to get that off his chest.

"SHUT UP AND GET HELP!" yelled back the hillside.

Not exactly the voice of God.

"We better get going," she said.

"What? I did what you wanted, and you were right. I do feel a little bit better."


"Come--on, Annie, I'm sorry."  But it was too late. Their semi-weekly fight was imminent.  The sun reluctantly gave up its claim to the day, and she was fully under the manufactured glow of the street lamp. The change was not good to her face.

"I know you are. Let's get going before anything else gets broken," she replied.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked. But he knew the answer. She would threaten to leave him, again. He would beg her to stay; that he'd change; that it would get better; that they could be happy...

But he no longer believed that. She wasn't happy. He couldn't make her happy.

They got into the car without speaking a word. He turned on the headlights and backed out of the parking lot and headed down the steep windy road.

She was waiting for him to say something. But he was too intent on the road. It was late, and misting now, and his headlights were dim. If something was around the corner, he wouldn't have to time to react to it.

"Don't take me home yet, okay?"  "Let's go do something else?"

He didn't say anything.

"We...we could get some dessert?"

He removed his eyes from the road just long enough to give her the really? look, and then returned his entire focus to the road.

"I don't know why you're giving me the silent treatment...you're the one who insulted me."

"Look Annie, It's late, we've done this round before, and I don't have the energy to shout it out or smother it in sweets. We....we aren't ..." And he realized he wasn't ready or willing to commit to the end of that sentence. "I'm sorry, I'm tired, and I just wanna go home. okay?

At the bottom of the hill, the road curved to a stop sign.  Somebody had spray painted "in the name of love" onto the red hexagon.

They both chuckled. An ironic end of the road.  

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