The ice cream vendor’s song

The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song
By Laura McHale Holland

The day his father drove away, Danube watched the Jeep sweep the house, yard and block of laughter as it roared out of the parking place, down the street and around the corner. Danube stayed on the porch as birds burped up grasshoppers in the branches above. He remained as neighborhood friends chased the ice cream vendor’s melody. He stayed on as the sun flung purples and oranges and reds across a gray-blue sky and as crickets sang into the void where his hope had been.

The first few nights after his father drove away, Danube fell asleep outside, and his mom carried him to bed. Then she insisted he come inside for supper, then earlier and earlier, for he had homework to do and chores and a future to build from marathons, tests and kisses year by year.

Now, a father himself, Danube drives a Jeep; he doesn’t know why. And when he visits his mom, he sits on the front porch in the late afternoons, his arm around his son’s shoulders, and he feels melancholy squeeze his heart momentarily, until he takes his child’s hand and runs block to block, chasing the ice cream vendor’s song.