Coming and going

April 9, 2010

Last time Todd had called home, on his dad’s birthday, he’d kept one thing to himself: there was a damn good chance he’d be coming home on leave this summer. Maybe July, maybe August. The longer he waited, the more days of leave he could save up. Maybe dad could score some Mariners tickets, like last year, and they could take the train to Seattle for the day. Wouldn’t that be sweet.

• • • • •

Lest he miss some great Mariners baseball, Carl had recorded the day game against the Athletics to watch later. He did this even though he hated knowing the results were out there, and had to avoid them at all cost and inconvenience. No radio on in the truck. No eyes on the TV when he stopped for a quick pint at McMenamin’s. No checkstand chatter when he stopped at Safeway for a bag of chips. No reason to talk to Evan, who just now was coming into the grocery store—with a girl?

• • • • •

List the top seven ice cream flavors,” Evan said. He and Danni headed down the store’s freezer aisle.

“Where?” Danni said.

“Here,” he said.

Danni cracked a smile. “Here in the frozen foods section?”

“Yeah. It’s a very specific kind of here.”

“Hmm…” Danni wheeled slowly past the glass doors. “Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, Strawberry Cheesecake, Mango Tango, Mint Chocolate Chip, and… vanilla.”

“That’s only six.”

“Frenchy vanilla bean vanilla. Seven.”

“Which one should we get?”

Danni looked like she was mentally tasting all of them. She closed her eyes, fumbled for the door handle and pulled open the freezer case. She grabbed the highest one she could reach.

“This one,” she said.

• • • • •

Lost again. Joe flicked off the TV, disgusted with Seattle’s 6 to 2 loss. Where was the offense? Talk about lost. After Monday, he and dad and Evan had been in total agreement: this is gonna be a great season. But losing three games in a row to Oakland? Not that getting off to a bad start meant anything, really. Except bad luck. Could be a long summer in Seattle… long summer in Portland, too.

• • • • •

Lust came with a label: bittersweet chocolate. Audrey broke off a rich corner, put it on her tongue and let it melt. She took a sip of hot tea, which created a chocolate Zen infusion. She had sliced an orange; she ate without hurry, and finished with a fortune cookie:

“We begin and end the same. The middle makes all the difference.”

©2010 Pam Wells


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