Going out for ice cream | Kathleen Celmins

Going out for ice cream

It was too cold inside the ice cream shop to effectively enjoy ice cream, so I ordered mine, then skipped out on the bill and went outside.

There were two tables and one bench. The tables were sticky with other people’s ice creams, so I sat down on the bench.

Brent was a few minutes behind me.

I sat, alone with my tasty treat, and when Brent came out, I told him what I realized.

“Sitting with someone eating ice cream is a fun way to be together. But sitting alone? Looking out on a parking lot? Is one of the saddest things I’ve done in recent memory.”

Brent sat down.

“You didn’t have to pick the bench that’s just basically facing the parking lot.”

In the few minutes I had to myself, several groups of people walked past me to get their shot at ice cream. They gave me looks of pity.

We were in a strip mall (because Phoenix = strip malls), and beyond the cars in the parking lot, I could see across the street to the Container Store.

“Is this my life now? Eating ice cream, looking out into a sea of cars in the suburbs?”

Brent assured me, “we’re not in the suburbs. This is Phoenix proper. This is your life now, are you having any regrets?”

“No, I’m really not. I’m just wondering why anyone sits here on this bench, looking at the Container Store.”

“That used to be an Arby’s.”

“Oh, really? It must have been a really big Arby’s.”

“World’s largest. They couldn’t sell enough sandwiches to stay open, and there was only one store who could take over.”

We laughed, then finished our ice cream, and headed to our car.

Our car!

With Oregon tags (until we get the title)!

In that parking lot!

The drive was beautiful. It was past sunset but not dark-dark yet. I think they call it twilight? The trees and cacti against an ink-blue sky were mesmerizing.

There is no charm in ice cream in a parking lot.

But now, when we drive by an Arby’s, we giggle like we’re part of an inside joke.

It still feels like we’re on an extended vacation, BTW.

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