For my dad
I slept in my parents’ bedroom every night when I was ten. My blood surged with impeccable measures of energy for four nights in a row. I laid awake for hours and stared at the draping mosquito net above the king-sized bed. But instead of succumbing to deep thinking, I decided to go on a quest. My hungry self slipped out of bed and journeyed into the kitchen to satisfy my craving for ice cream. Little did I know that eating ice cream at 3 o’clock in the morning could teach me valuable lessons that have stuck with me until today.
Night One: Strawberry ice cream. As I sank my teeth into the satin-like dessert, the muscles on my face twisted — not to the darts of sour that pierced my tastebuds, but to the burst of euphoria that felt like electricity through my veins. A single scoop of strawberry ice cream, sweet both inside and out, made me grin from ear to ear for minutes; I never felt as happy as I did on a regular day. I usually had to deal with peers who plaster sweet smiles on their faces even as they held knives behind their backs. We should all be like that one scoop of strawberry ice cream: sweet and authentic. Perhaps then more people would have genuine grins plastered on their faces.
Night Two: Chocolate ice cream. My mother had always adored her chocolate. She told me that I should choose my chocolate carefully, since each piece has its own unique charisma. Everybody knows that there are three basic types of chocolate — milk, white, dark — but an endless number of flavors that can be infused into every kind: mint, coffee, sea salt, and caramel, amongst many. It had been established over the years that there was nothing wrong with mixing the two together; in fact, dark chocolate tasted better with sea salt. We all have our basic identities, but of various accented quirks or behaviors. Two sisters may seem incredibly alike yet still have different preferences for chocolate. Unfortunately, society has failed to comprehend how we are allowed to differ from one another. We all should be given a chance to embrace our own originalities, and proudly showcase to the world our unique mix of flavors.
Night Three: Mint ice cream. One spoonful gave my tongue a cooling sensation that lingered throughout the night. I felt rejuvenated — lifted from all burdens and transgressions (or at least those that I considered to be transgressions when I was ten). I didn’t realize how painful it was to be remembered for my mistakes until I recalled an old beau who still held a grudge against me after I had wronged him over a year ago. People were always so uptight and furious that they seemed to have forgotten how important it is to give a second chance to those who have wronged them. We deserve to be liberated from our mistakes. Be the mint in someone’s life; forgive your peers so that you can rejuvenate their lives with open arms.
Night Four: Vanilla ice cream was a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely delighted the beige dessert. However, I did not let the dessert sit in my aching stomach for long. The ice cream – although sweet and milky – was too rich, creamy, soggy and engulfed in black specks that made me cringe in disgust at the sight of dot clusters as soon as I got a closer look (it was then that I realized my severe case of trypophobia). The creaminess caused my stomach to churn uncontrollably and my tiny skull to throb to the piercing cold. Despite this, I did not regret trying the vanilla ice cream; trying the vanilla made me realize that my body was lactose intolerant and thus couldn’t handle its rich flavor. I knew that I didn’t have to eat it ever again. Sometimes letting go of the things we love is all that’s left to do.
My father laughed with me throughout those four nights as I stuffed myself with ice cream. “Cherish your ice cream moments,” he said. “These are the moments that are simple and rare, but can teach you the most valuable lessons in life.”
And so I did.