Ice Cream

Niana was seven years old. She was now a big girl. “Big girls don’t cry,” she was constantly told.

Yet, the tears that were gushing down her cheeks seemed impossible to stop. Niana sniffled, rubbing her eyes hard, “S-Stop it,” she told herself, “C-Crying doesn’t h-help.”

“No it doesn’t,” came a voice, “it just makes your nose all red.”

Niana looked up. There she stood, the very person who had made her cry, Cassandra. Niana bolted to her feet.

“L-Leave me alone,” she said, with as much force as she could muster.

Almost instantly, Cassandra hung her head. Niana stared at her in disbelief. Could the Playground-Queen Cassandra be ashamed of herself? 

Cassandra cleared her throat, still quite unable lift her eyes, “Niana, I’m sorry I made fun of your stutter. I didn’t mean to make you cry. My mamma explained why you talk like that. I didn’t know before,” she looked up and locked her gaze with Niana, “I’m really sorry,” she repeated.

Niana stared back at Cassandra. She looked like she was about to cry herself. Slowly, Niana’s lips twitched upwards.

“It’s O-Okay,” she said, “I f-forgive you.”

Cassandra squealed happily, hopping a few times, “I know I haven’t always been the nicest person, but I really want to be your friend Niana,” she held out both her hands, “this is for you.”

Niana looked down at what Cassandra was holding out. There, in the palm of her hands sat a tiny cup of chocolate ice cream.

*****

Niana was now eleven years old. She was no longer a child. “This is freedom,” she thought to herself as she zoomed around the neighbourhood, finally free of the training wheels on her bicycle. 

She saw Cassy waiting for her at the other end of the street, waving out excitedly. Niana waved back with a grin plastered on her face. She remembered the day Cassy had gotten her training wheels removed. She had watched enviously as Cassy displayed her natural athletic abilities, riding around the footpath. Not anymore; Niana had finally caught her with her best friend.

Niana peddled over to where Cassy was waiting. Nothing could bring her down today! 

Of course, no sooner had that thought occured to her, was she on the ground. Her bicycle lay a few inches away and her pride below her.

“Niana! Are you okay?” Cassy squeaked peddling hurriedly over. She stopped expertly next to Niana and hopped off her own bicycle. 

Niana huffed, “I’m fine. Looks like I’m not as good as you yet” she complained as Cassy helped her to her feet.

Cassy blinked in disbelief, “Niana you’re so silly. Of course, you wont be an expert the minute you start riding. It’s all about practice.”

Niana pouted as she bent over to pick her bike up, “I just wanted today to be epic! The wheels are finally off. It was supposed to be a big day.”

Cassy giggled, throwing her arm around Niana’s shoulder, “It is a big day. You can now ride wherever you want. We can now go all over the place. We are going to celebrate this. You know how we celebrate don’t you?”

Niana looked up into Cassy’s twinkling eyes. She did know; a big scoop of chocolate ice cream.

*****

Niana was now seventeen years old. She was a strong, independent woman who needed no man. She reminded herself that over and over again as she groaned into her pillow.

CRASH!

“Niana!” Cassy had entered the room, her big beautiful eyes flashing with rage, “Your mamma called me to tell me how you’ve been sulking in your room all evening. She doesnt even know why.”

Niana shot her a look. Slowly, a look of realization crept over Cassy’s face.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, “you told him you like him, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Niana moaned, “but he doesn’t like me back.”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s crushing on you!”

There was a ringing silence in the room.

“Oh.” said Cassy, her face frozen in shock.

“Oh.” said Niana, her face reflecting her utter defeat.

More silence followed, neither quite knowing what to say until-

“You know how we fix this don’t you?” Cassy asked.

Niana looked up at her best friend and smiled.

Yup, a big tub of chocolate icecream.

*****

Niana was now twenty five years old. She was now a wife, and soon to be a mother of two. She rubbed her pregnant belly as she walked down the path in the sweltering heat.

It had been a year since that fateful night but she still missed her terribly. So suddenly, so unexpected, but Niana’s Cassy, her partner-in-crime was now gone.

Niana sighed as she made her way to the little headstone where Cassy lay. She settled herself down next it and smiled. 

“Hey Cas! How are you doing?” she began gently, “I know it has been a while since I came to see you. Things have been such a mess lately. I went for another sonogram today. Twins Cas! Twins. And here i thought one would be hard enough.”

Niana laughed to herself, picturing the look of hillarity that would have graced Cassy’s face. The thought of Niana having to refree two children for the rest of her life would have made Cassy’s day. 

“I can’t believe you wont be here to help me raise them.” she accused the stone, “they are going to be one aunt short Cas! You better be sorry about that. You aren’t even around to celebrate this big day.”

Niana sniffled, tears now pouring down her cheeks. She touched Cassy’s headstone picturing her smirking back at her. She knew what Cassy would have reminded her.

They already had their special way to apologise, to celebrate big days, to drive away pain and sorrow: Chocolate Ice Cream. 

******

This was my first attempt at a short story. It was mostly supposed to be a collection of drabbles over the years. I wanted the narrative to sound like it was Niana’s at the different stages. I wanted it to sound like her said age. I hope I could deliver. 

This was the second day of the one word challenge between Rucha (https://wordcravingssite.wordpress.com/) and me. As the title suggest the word I was given was “Ice Cream.” This was longer than I’m used to writing.

As always, comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome. Thank you for reading. I look forward to the feedback. 

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