THE ICE CREAM SHOP
by B. Hodges

       The air smelled sweet when we finally got in the door of the ice cream store. We were halfway through the line at 'The Creamery' and had already been waiting forever. My sisters had been asking all day to get our first ice cream cone of our vacation, and now we are here and have to wait in this line.
      We started our two week vacation at the beach today. Mom drove Sally, Marie and me down here this morning. Dad can't come until next week, which is a big bummer because I really like playing football on the beach with him. He's a lawyer, so he can't always leave the same times that we do, though. As Mom says, he works so we can make trips like this-- I just wish he was here.
      We got to Rehoboth Beach in time for lunch. But Mom made us unpack the car before we could eat and get ready for the beach. It's not really fair since I'm the oldest and a boy and the strongest. I made more trips to the car than the girls and then more trips up the stairs to the bedrooms than they did. I can't wait until they get older so they can help more.
      "Sean, what flavor are you getting?" Marie asked me while jumping up and down.
      "I don't know. Probably Rocky Road," I answered. "Why are you being such a freak jumping like that?"
      "I don't know, I am excited!" she squealed. "And you always get Rocky Road. Why don't you try something different? Did you see the Bubble Gum flavor? Oooh, or the Cake Batter one?" She loudly asked while still jumping up and down.
      "Settle down, Marie," Mom said while I ignored her. She can be so annoying ( I thought when she turned 10 in June she was going to be different, but I guess I was wrong).
       I turned around to see how long the line stretched out the door. Mom was right, the line is moving much faster than I thought it would.
       "Sally," I asked my seven-year-old sister who was holding Mom's hand and standing on her tiptoes, "what are you going to get?"
       "I don't know Sean-Sean," Sally said. "I want to see what they look like."
       I thought this was a good idea since I wasn't really sure if I wanted Rocky Road anyway. I just told Marie that because I didn't feel like talking to her. She can be so hyper and embarrassing.
      The line slowly moved forward, and we were just two people back from being next to the big freezers. The woman in front of me had on an orange bikini with just a skirt and flip flops. She had big boobs. The top of her bikini tied behind her neck, and I wondered what would happen if it untied...would they fall out the whole way?
       I turned around quickly because she had looked back and saw me staring at her. I watched the ground for a minute and hoped the burning of my face would stop. I slowly looked up and Mom was looking at me with her smiley-sympathy face. I immediately looked down again then turned back around without a word and started looking at the ice cream.
       There was a swirly, fluorescent colored one called 'Rainbow Explosion'. It looked like paint, not ice cream.
       Marie was bouncing all over again and accidentally ran into the lady in the orange bikini. She looked back and we made eye contact again. Again, I whipped my head around fast and stared at the other flavors while Mom made Marie apologize to the woman.
       Mom knelt down next to Marie and said, "You need to calm down, Marie, or else we are all going to have to leave without ice cream."
       I have to admit I wouldn't have minded leaving if it meant that woman wouldn't look at me again. Or maybe she wouldn't catch me looking at her again.
       None of my friends have girlfriends, yet. We're about to start eigth grade, though, and I think we will all start asking girls to go out with us this year. I get really nervous around them, though. I know I like them, especially Jessica Savage, our next door neighbor. But I just get red-faced and sweaty when I try to talk to them one-on-one. None of them look like orange-bikini lady, though. She was really tan and had one of those belly button rings. She had dark hair in a ponytail, and she was really pretty. I bet she was in college. Maybe the girls will look like that in high school.
       We were up to the second freezer by now. I couldn't even remember the flavors from the first cooler anymore. Sally, in front of me, had her face pressed up against the glass and Marie, now behind me in line, was holding Mom's hand and finally standing still.
       "Mommy, can we get two scoops, pleeaaase?" Sally nicely whined.
       Mom paused for a moment then said, "Okay, just this once."
       That is what she always says on vacation, but I bet when we come back again with Dad, we will be able to get two scoops then, too. Mom is always easier with us on vacation. We get Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms for breakfast, which we NEVER get to have at home. We also get to stay up until 10 o'clock every night and get to go to the arcade every day, if we want. She's pretty cool down here.
       The lady in the bikini was paying for her ice cream now. I looked at her while keeping my body facing the freezers. She had a red wallet she took out of her pink beach bag. Her phone started ringing while she was holding her ice cream in one hand and wallet in the other. It played the song "Genie in a Bottle". She let it ring because her hands were full, I guess.
       She looked my way again, and I quickly realized I wasn't facing the freezer anymore. Instead, my head had turned and was staring right at her.
       She said, "Hi there," and smiled at me.
       I said, "Hi," in a really weird voice and snapped around to find my sisters were ordering ice cream with my mom. I couldn't remember any of the flavors from the second freezer.
       Mom said, "Sean, what do you want?" as she held Sally's overfull double scoop cone.
       "Um...I guess I just want Rocky Road," I mumbled.
       "Two scoops of rocky road?" Mom asked, surprised.
       "Yeah, that's it," I said.
       I made sure to stay very focused on our ice cream order as the server handed me my cone and Mom juggled Sally's cone while trying to pay. Marie was licking away at her rainbow explosion and cake batter combination. The exit door had a bell that had jingled a few times since that lady had talked to me. I hoped she was gone.
       I finally had no choice but to turn around, double scoop Rocky Road in hand, and walk towards the exit door. The coast was clear. I pushed the door open with my back and held it for Mom and the girls. We walked onto the boardwalk, waited for a break in the lines of people walking, and crossed over to a bench that looked onto the water.
       As we got closer, I realized the lady from 'The Creamery' had met a friend on the bench next to ours, and she looked up as we walked around the bench to sit down.
       "Rocky road?" She asked as I moved past her.
       "Yeah," I answered.
       "My favorite," she said. I looked at her ice cream and realized she was eating the same thing as me.
       "Me, too, " I said, making eye contact then quickly looking back at my cone.
       Then I sat down next to Marie, and she said, "Is that your girlfriend, Sean?" while giggling.
        "Shut up!"I said under my breath while she stared at the woman.
        With that, orange-bikini-lady and her friend stood up and walked away. I didn't want to watch because Marie was being too obnoxious. But I do want to come back here for ice cream tomorrow.

THE END 

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