My Inky Folios: The View From The Periphery

Happy Sunday, people! Quite a while since I did an Inky Folios post - hope you enjoy this one, inspired by A Choice Of Three by Alex Turner! 

The young man wearing the crimson hat and the sycophantic smile - both lopsided - hands you your ice cream. It's a simple double-scoop of blueberry and chocolate fudge and, from my vantage point two places behind you, appears toothsome enough, yet the woebegone look on your sun-kissed face as you turn away from the van discloses the notion that you're pining for something more than what you're now clutching in your right hand, while with your other hand you absently tuck renegade strands of hair behind your ears. Perhaps your favorite flavor was out of stock? I ruminate on what it might be, as you walk away with shoulders slumped underneath your sweatshirt, and I'm resigning myself to the fact that this is it - the cessation of our fleeting encounter, devoid of salutations; not an acknowledging glance on your part, not a  deferential word to spark a conversation between two strangers on mine. If the weather had been more interesting than a big yellow ball of fire glaring down on people's idiotic ways and some scattered clouds slogging along the azure sky as if reluctantly heading off to a day job they abhor (but the promise of wages always wins in the end), perhaps then I might have plucked the courage to engage in eye contact with you and - if your mien doesn't indicate hostility - initiate a chat.

My defeatist thoughts on never seeing you again are transient however; you swivel around on the sidewalk to face me - the queue, I rectify myself immediately. Your eyes dart sporadically from the cone in your hand to the tall, tan man standing in front of me. He's taking his sweet time ordering, perusing the list of flavors taped to the sliding window. I think he may be your gentleman caller yet the look you're giving him may just be as arctic as the dessert you're unenthusiastically consuming.

On the pretence of being greatly interested in the boutique's window behind you (the mannequins were modelling someone's summer collection with vacuous looks on their faces), I sneak another furtive glance at your countenance. Hazelnut, I decide. I'm not certain why, but I think if you are to attempt one of those personality quizzes on the internet, that will be your defining flavor.

Your expression is now carefully noncommittal  to fool the world, yet it behooves me to think that under the cool facade is a sea of churning emotions, boisterous and inclement. I wonder for the second time what it is that is gnawing your conscience, and I yearn to be the one who rescues you when you slip off the edge. That coveted post is already taken, though, much to to my bitterness, and I turn my eyes to face the broad back of your partner. He's chosen chocolate chip and caramel for himself and is fishing in his trousers' pocket for loose change. But then I remember the look you gave him earlier and I think he's not the rescuer, but the one who trips you and sends you falling into the chasm. Even if I decide on a whim to jump in after you, I won't have an unobstructed view of the sky with which I can display my weather observation skills. Perhaps I'll have to resort to a commentary on geology.

Perhaps neither of us will survive the drop.

Your partner leaves at last, slurping his ice cream, and I move to take his place, tilting my head slightly sideways so I can watch as he puts his arm around your shoulders and steers you down the sidewalk. A trickle of ice cream is carving a path down your cone and I think it's rather ignorant of him not to warn you before the ice cream soaks into your sleeve and ruins it. 

For the second time today, you turn away from me and this I know is the true ending. I watch you round the corner and disappear from sight, and the next second you're nowhere, and I feel like I've been woken from a strange dream of undiscovered secrets when the ice cream man prompts me with a 'And what would you like, sir?'.

A brief scan later, I notice that the container labelled 'hazelnut' is quite empty. I pay for a blueberry single-scoop and stroll in the opposite direction you've gone.  


As always, I would absolutely love to hear any sort of feedback so feel free to comment below!