There is ice cream in your mouth, on the tongue, live, in real time, happening. You had pried open the lid, surveyed the topography as you’d left it, visually plumbed its depths, and you secured a promising bite, lifted a cold form past your lips, and now its first precious haul is in your mouth being favorably destroyed with time, heat, gentle motions of the teeth.

Ice cream in your throat now, and the next bite will need securing. Too long of a gap between bites upsets a certain rhythm, the sustained pulse of devouring. Though you’d forgotten this until now, the consummation of desire wasn’t meant to be a mere bite, but a rapturous sequence, a measure in a symphony. A certain chocolate chunk has caught your eye, protruding from an escarpment that includes the lip of what seems like a decent vein of caramel.

If ice cream can lead to higher states, you think, it likely takes a quantity, more moments, deeper investigations. Each bite quickly reaches coda, points to the next opening for grace.

Yet, the vein of caramel was not as it presented, and the chocolate chunk — why does chocolate struggle to release its best flavors in the cold? That first bite is ancient history, a past unworthy of reflection, as it will be matched, topped, each bite standing on the shoulders of others, but the others are melting down in a dark elsewhere. Ah well, the once majestic cliffs have been reduced. Ice cream is cloying, an insight that had itself melted.

This ice cream in your mouth is a dairy product, a massive intake of calories, from a company with a questionable supply chain. Reading the ingredients, you see that condensation has taken hold of the pint, that there is a slurry squeezing up along the inner rim.

Everything was framed around the bite, as if that moment was meant to be the apex of all feeling. That bite was the favored, gifted child — something to which all other things, even subsequent bites, were subservient or inferior. The longing for it had lasted hours, during which other feeling became shaded, set aside.

Removed was the ice cream in driving home, in turning the doorknob, in putting your sunglasses on the counter. Such things had received no longing, no fantasy. They offered no echoes of childhood, had no ads or branding or songs. They were routine passings, the unproductive middle parts of a factory line. But for every moment that was made to sit in the wings — lacking sexiness, sugar, novelty — something was drawn, as from a hidden account, from the ice cream. Without the ice cream in the doorknob, there would be no turning and opening in the ice cream. Without the ice cream in a kiss, the seat set aside for passion would be empty in the ice cream.

At the bottom of the pint, a faint message in off-white, four-point type, rarely read: “Dear eater, you are the ice cream in your mouth. Ice cream is latent in you, a spirit that merely unfolds in a theater of a purchase, eyeing, spooning. Indulge in its most manifest form with new ecstasy, abandon, as a way for all other experience to be so spooned and consumed. Sensing it in all things, the calm of ice cream can flow into the dog walk, sweetness into the emptying of trash, cool relief into seeing, expectation into anything accompanied by breath.”

All is “Ice cream in your mouth.”

Avatar
Michael Richardson is a software developer and writer living in Boise, Idaho. He grew up in Vermont, studied Indian classical music for a bit, made furniture, was a book binder for a stretch, and got an M.F.A. in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. In 2003, he published a novel called "Plans for a Mushroom Radio." He's currently working on a book about language and spirituality. Contact Michael at hand.eye.design@gmail.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.