Chocolate Ice Cream
Courtney-An Le

Mama and I didn’t go to church for the longest time until last year. Very seriously with a voice like gravel, Mama’d say, “It's your father's thing.” Dad has a lot of things that Mama says are his. He owns marigolds and daisies, the sound of a person tuning a guitar, and, biggest of all, Mama says Dad owns Germany now. We never used to touch Dad's things or go to Dad's places.

Mama says I look just like him. She sees Dad in the way I move and the things I say. On exceptional days, we get to have vanilla ice cream. I like chocolate more but vanilla is one of the only things that can belong to both Dad and me. We sit on the street curb and Mama tells me I'm going to grow up just like Dad. She says I'll be too strong, too smart, and too kind for my own good. Her voice always becomes softer and she fiddles with her wedding band. I don’t know if I want to be like Dad if he makes Mama cry.

A few months ago, Mama didn't go to work. It was around the time that everyone was celebrating and talking about how hell had come in Marne and left in Versailles. We waited for days for Dad. I wanted to celebrate too and get ice cream, maybe even chocolate instead of vanilla. Instead, we picked up forget-me-nots and roses and went to church.

First published: November 2017
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