The ice cream tasted like Bach, with a hint of rainy day mornings. Alicia savored each snow-day-ecstasy bite and let it slide down her throat like rosy melodrama.
“It’s not your fault, you know,” her father said.
Alicia picked a jazzy green sprinkle out of the chocolate syrup eruption and ate it delicately.
“Honestly, it’s totally my fault. I realize that now.” His voice was blushing, Alicia noticed. She picked out another green sprinkle, this one not quite so jazzy. “Are you listening to me?” She nodded into her sundae.
“It’ll be hard at first, I’m sure. It always is. But we’ll get through it, right?”
She plucked the maraschino cherry from its cozy pillow of whipped cream. It smelled like white clouds in blue skies and bees bumbling through tall grass. She smiled.
Her father smiled back, encouraged. “I knew you’d understand. For now, you’ll stay in the house with your mom. Once I find a place, you can come visit on weekends. We’ll have fun, I promise.”
Alicia’s head snapped up. She saw the sickly-sweet cough syrup look in his eyes. Her stomach suddenly felt pop quiz.
He smiled again. “Eat up, kiddo. It’s going to melt.”
She pushed the sundae away. “It tastes gray,” she said.