The Place in the Line
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This is a hot day in summer. Actually, it is more than just hot, itís oppressive, as if the humid heat wanted to drown us all. The sun finds everyone and everything in this heat, and soon you feel like a wrinkled raisin, brown and old.

In the park, there is an ice cream vendor who sells ice cream to a long line of sweating children and the occasional adult. I decide to stand in line as my best friend, Tina, with whom I came to the park, throws smiles and innocent words at Billy, a boy from school, perhaps two years older than we are. She forgets that she came to the park to talk with me entirely. So I claim my place in the line of hot and sweating people, and she moves to sit somewhere out of sight, somewhere in the shade, with Billy.

The ice cream vendor is not slow in his work of selling ice cream, but the line still moves in syrupy slow motion. The reason for this is that everybody tries to get the best ice cream, the one with the sweetest flavor, the one they will like best; they all try to make the most of standing in line for so long with the hot sun pouring its unrepentant heat on them. I find this rather strange, as I have the feeling that you can use your time in the line to figure out what flavor you like best. I wonder what all those people in front of me are thinking about, if not that.

  
 
After some time, I finally find myself the second in line. The old lady who is the first in line is trying to make her decision as I hear Tinaís sobs from somewhere behind me. I turn around to see her re-emerging from the shade with a tear streaked face and a somewhat hunched bearing. She looks around the park, her eyes like two searchlights that blaze with wet intensity. I wonder whether she has remembered that I came to the park with her to talk and whether she feels like talking now. After some time, Tina stops searching and gets in the line as well, just as I get to make my order. Strange how she can be at the very end of the line when I am just about to get my ice cream.

I cannot easily decide whether I should take lemon or chocolate, so, in the end, I ask the ice cream vendor for both. He throws a knowing smile at me as he hands over my ice cream cone. The taste of lemons and chocolate mingle in my mouth as I walk home in a heavy breeze that carries the humming sobs and salty smell of Tinaís cries.



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