"A Taste of Summers Past"
Twelve popsicles. Three grape, Three orange, three lime and, best of all, three cherry.
The yellow box wasn't as I remembered it, but the picture took me decades back in time, to bare feed on grass, a baseball game on the radio, sprinklers to run through and, of course, cherry popsicles. My mother scolding me for refusing the grape and the orange, the lemon. They only came as an assortment and, didn't I know there were kids starving in Africa? Hot, dry Africa where they'd die for a popsicle? She was unimpressed with my willingness to send the grape ones.
It's been a long time since I'd run through sprinklers, but it is summer and the popsicle box caught my eye on my way to the frozen dinners. Back home, stripped to my undershirt in the sticky summer air, I hold each white-plastic wrapped shaft to the light, peering through for the telltale red shadow. Ah, this one. Peel it open, the faint crinklink of plastic barely audible over the window fan's rattling. I bite the end off between front teeth, and am punished with a sharp lance of pain deep into my gums. Damn. That never used too happen. I need the dentist. Badly.
The flavor isn't as I remember. Cloyingly sweet, with barely a hint of actual cherries. Too sweet. I find that I can't bare the taste. Sticky melting popsicle drips onto my fingers. I rub the half-bitten popsicle around my lips, under my tongue, savoring the stickycoldwetchill against the hot summer air. That feels good, if I at least keep it off of my teeth. A bit trickes down my chin, my neck, bloodstaining my shirt as I flip on the radio, hunting for the baseball game.
As the stickyred dries onto my face, a hint of sunset across my five-oclock shadow, I rifle thorugh the rest of the box. Eleven popsicles. I carefully set the two remaining cherry into the freezer and toss the rest into the trash.
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