Life; a melting Popsicle

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone's popsicle melting.... view prompt

7 comments

Romance

A lone drop of sweat makes its way down my temples, through the eyebrows into the unruly trimmed sideburns. Even the popsicle is sweating in a young man's hand. He wears an unbuttoned shirt over a white T-shirt and is busy licking popsicle sweat beads. Nothing seems to beat the heat down. I rub my dirt and oil-stained sleeve over my face holding the searing books in another. 

Everyone feels defeated, even trees and the once fertile soil. The trees hang low under the oppressive sun and soil swirling with heatwaves; arid, dry and powdery. The evergreen grass is hay. But right now, nothing bothers me, neither the sultry humid weather nor sweat-drenched sticky shirt, for I am fixated by the green popsicle melting in young man's hand. The syrup trickles down the ice, dripping onto the popsicle stick. A few beads escape the expanse of man's tongue. They roll down through the air splashing onto the pavement.

The man winces feeling awkward and licks the stick to minimize the loss of precious cold green popsicle. But as soon as he does that, another streak drips down, and this time, it trickles all the way down his arm. He twitches back to avoid staining his shirt. I squirm as a warm drop of sweat makes its way down my nape into my shirt.

The only difference between me and popsicle is that my sweat is warm while its sweat is cold. Yes, it's green, but it reflects my jealousy towards its bracing personality.

"Your kids will love these books, ma'am!", I shout to draw the attention of a woman passing by me. Despite my bare feet burning over heat-absorbing asphalt, I stand there. The sharp pain reminds me that I have to dig through their trash my treasure to find a new pair of slippers. 

If I had not run across the busy road, I would not have tripped, snapping the strap of the flipflops. The woman scoffs, patting a folded tissue paper over her temples and walks away. 

I move out of the alley towards the bus stop. The young man's green lips kissing the melting popsicle vigorously, parting only for breaths. My tongue traces my lips as he hurridly bites the entire thing off the stick, throwing it in the corner. He groans, staring at his green, sticky hands drenched in syrup. He rolls his fat green tongue around his mouth, trying to wipe as many stains off his face as he can.

"Hey, buddy! I don't have a tissue paper. Can I have a piece of paper from those...", he points towards the books in my hands, "books in your hand."

"Your money is also a piece of paper.", I grasp my books tightly, "Wipe it off with it.", I stack the books on the bus stop and sat atop of them with legs crossed.

"Come on, kid! Don't fuss. I can't spoil my---"

"My clothes are terribly spoiled too. It does not matter.", I bat the lashes at him and pulled a coloring book from under my butt. 

There are big colorless drawings plastered across each page. A page portrays a girl with a snowman in her hand, laughing. The last page portrays two girls, two guys, a reindeer, and a snowman with something written beneath them. It is similar to the cover page of the book.

"I don't have time. I have to catch the bus and go home.", his frustration is growing with every passing moment.

"Neither do I! I have to sell these books and go home!", he grunts under his breath.

"Hand me the books and pull my wallet out of the butt pocket."

I stare at him, "The ground is hot. My skin will burn. I won't step down. Turn around.", he does as I command him to. I pull the leather wallet out of his pocket.

The blinding light of July is raining its oppression upon us. I want to place the wallet in his hands but he motions not to. His winces as he sits down on the blistering pavement beside me.

"Pull the cards out of the wallet.", I do as I am ordered to. Along with that, I pull a fifty rupee note. The paper makes a satisfying ripping sound. He rubs the colorless printed drawing across his face and hands, tossing the ball of paper near the corner. It lands near the popsicle stick. 

He doesn't jump to his feet or say anything. He just tosses his wallet in my lap tugging the book in his armpit.  

"How does...", I motion towards popsicle stick lying in the dirt with other wrappers, "taste like?"

"Popsicle?", he laughs, "You have not eaten it?!"

My frown makes his laugh die out, "If I had eaten it, I would not have been selling books. And besides...", I pause recalling my long-buried mother's words, "I cannot make the mistake of getting ill. I cannot afford medicines."

He sighs closing his eyes. The brutal rays still raining down on us.

"How does it feel to wear clean clothes?", I shift in my place trying to make myself comfortable on the stack of books. His hands and nails are clean and soft which made me look down at my dry tanned awful hands

He shrugs, "Normal?"

"For you!", I look away at the cars rushing past us emitting black fumes.

"Where do you live, kid?"

Where do I live? Where? Where! When do I live! I survive like a popsicle! The ground was smoldering sending up the disorienting haze.

The illegal landfill under the bridge has a worn-out truck. My summers are spent outside on its roof and winters inside with windows slightly rolled down for ventilation. I smile weakly. I pull myself up picking my books. Tossing the wallet down at him near his feet, I turn around to retreat to the alley. I tug the fifty rupee note in my wretched pocket as the muggy heat presses in on me.

My eyes sting with pain and misery. I can't afford to rip the pages off these books to clean my hands. Let them remain dusty and dirt-smeared for it is better than a grumbling stomach begging for food.

"Hey, kid.", I cannot wipe my tears quickly enough. When he turns me around to say something, his voice is gone. I do not want to cry. I want to be as strong as I always am. But when he pulls the books in his hands and picks me up in his arms it makes me sob even harder.

"Let's start with a popsicle, okay?", he kisses my dry crummy cheeks.

I nod in negation pointing towards the bridge, "That's my home."

"That was!"

Shaded areas and bright areas all together make a picture beautiful and that picture is the picture of my life.

August 04, 2020 11:19

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7 comments

Phillip Moore
07:58 Aug 13, 2020

The descriptions were good, the wording and story was overall powerful. I enjoyed it very much! However, I like to always give at least one suggestion- as I feel that, while compliments are nice, they don't much help to improve anything besides confidence! My only suggestion would be to use more synonyms. In this story specifically, "Popsicle" and "green" were used frequently in repetition. They certainly paint the picture well, but it's always nice to mix it up and keep it refreshing. Instead of "green" you could alternate between words lik...

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Shiza Ali
10:28 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you. I highly appreciate your suggestion. You are right.

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Omani Saleem
10:43 Aug 09, 2020

Enjoyed the descriptions

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Shiza Ali
18:40 Aug 09, 2020

Thanks

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Sue Marsh
15:17 Aug 04, 2020

good story line, and descriptions...keep writing. Sue

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Shiza Ali
18:08 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you

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09:39 Aug 13, 2020

Described beautifully!!

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