Your lemon-lime popsicle drips steadily onto your tights. It’s like a summer routine now. Attempt to cool down with popsicle, ruin clothing instead.
Seriously, though, your tights have suffered so much. There’s grass stains, ink, candle wax, and now a couple of drops of a lemon-lime popsicle.
You take a lick. It’s one of those cheap ones, the ones that are shorter than a pencil and are packed with that delicious artificial flavoring. The ones you have no idea how to eat once you have only a little ice on one side of the stick left, so you let it fall sadly into the sink. The cherry ones taste like medicine, the orange ones have way too strong an artificial flavor, the banana gives you the illusion of healthiness which takes away from the fun, but the lemon-lime….The lemon-lime is just right. It has the perfect amount of flavoring, it’s sweet and sour at the same time, and it tastes like you’re biting into a Ginger Ale ice cube.
You take another lick. Your life is kind of lemon-lime flavored too. It can be sweet when you have your time to yourself, when you have your hobbies, when you have your friends and the people who care about you. And the people who don’t care, well, that’s what makes it sour. It’s sour going to sleep at night to yelling beyond your door. It’s sour pretending not to care. It’s so sour, it leaves your mouth feeling sticky, and your teeth in need of brushing. Of course, there’s also the artificial flavoring, the fake smiles they give you as if you didn’t hear them arguing. The fake smiles you give back because you want to try to forget.
So maybe your life is orange flavored instead, because yes it’s sweet, but it’s much too filled, overflowed, with the artificial smiles. The masks they wear and the lies they tell. You take another lick, and this time, when your precious popsicle drips, it drips onto your shirt, which is adorned in watermelons all over it. You wore it in the spirit of summer, though you aren’t really feeling it.
If only your life could be watermelon flavored, moist, and sweet, with the bitterness of seeds barely getting in the way of happiness. But much like the cheap popsicle in your hand, life doesn’t come in such luxurious flavors. You take a tiny bite off the top of your melting popsicle and swallow it. It chills your throat. You take another bite, this one bigger, which causes you to have a brain freeze once you swallow.
With the hand that isn’t gripping the stick, you clutch your head and wait for the pain to subside. Life has small brain freezes too, like when you just don’t know what to do, when one person tells you one thing, and someone else another, so you have to make your own decision.
Your brain freeze has finally receded, so you take your hand down from your head, only to realize that your hand had some melted lemon-lime popsicle on it, meaning there’s also some on your hair now. Perhaps you could add that to your summer routine. Attempt to cool down with popsicle, ruin clothing and hair instead.
You lick your popsicle again, not daring to bite and risk another brain freeze.
Maybe your life is cherry flavored, sweet but sometimes in the wrong way, like when you see them sitting together plastered with their fake smiles and looking at you with artificial kindness.
Or maybe, just maybe, your life isn’t a popsicle at all. Maybe it’s just an ice cube, the ones that you can’t quite get out of the tray, so they end up cracking and melting away. Or, your life could be a snow cone, empty ice waiting to be flavored with fake conversations and meaningless words.
However, you could possibly be exaggerating because of course although there is some artificial flavoring, don’t they say the popsicles include at least 20% natural?
You wouldn’t be allowed to eat if it were completely artificial, and your life wouldn’t be liveable. You take another lick, keeping your tongue on the popsicle to cool it down a little. It’s over 90 degrees today, and you know there’s probably an argument even more heated going on inside your house, too ruined to call a home.
The only spot you actually like in your house is your room, located on the top floor, and mostly isolated. You could call that your home, where you sleep, do art, and tell your cat everything.
You would’ve eaten your popsicle there too, had you not remembered your summer routine. You loved your green bedspread too much to get lemon-lime popsicle all over it. You loved your bean-bag too, and the fluffy rug that you sometimes layed down on. You like your walls, filled with pictures, not of your family, but of art. Besides, you could hardly call the people you live with a family. A family is warm and loving. A family is flavored milk-chocolate because it isn’t a popsicle that melts over time, it’s a warm drink filled in a big mug that leaves you with a mustache you laugh and wipe away.
Your family….your family is like spicy hot Cheetos, flavorful, sure, but messy and hot and not at all sweet.
At least you’ve got one, that’s what your friend would say. It’s not that she doesn’t have one herself, no, she does, the good milk-chocolate kind too, but she likes constantly reminding you to be grateful. It’s easy for her to say. If her life was a popsicle, it’d probably be pink-lemonade flavored, one of those slightly more expensive popsicles, the big ones that make for perfect selfies and rarely melt because they’re so well made. And the inside is good too, sweet and juicy all till the end of the stick, the thick ones you like to keep for future art projects you could do.
You take a lick of your popsicle, now craving a pink-lemonade one. A drop of it melts into your hands, which are now sticky and hotter than before. You’re almost to the point where the flavored ice will fall off the stick, but it doesn’t matter. You can always take another one from the small cardboard box in the freezer.
Oh, but you’ll have to pass the living room for that. Maybe walk into some yelling. Of course, the yelling will stop once you pass by. It’ll morph into the artificial smiles.
The last bit of your popsicle falls onto the grass. You leave it there, because who knows, the grass might want to taste the lemon-lime.
Despite what you may find inside, you brush off your tights and get up, wet stick in hand, towards your house.
Maybe one day, it’ll be home.
Maybe when you walk in….
Maybe today will be different.