As I clutch his hand and walk away from school, I ask him, “Can I have ice cream later?”. He nods and strides ahead quickly, while I try catching up with him. I try to walk fast, trying to fix my brown bob and adjust my little bag on my tiny shoulders. My cheeks turned red from the winter breeze. Unable to match with his pace, he picks me up and gently places me on his shoulders.
I could see the world from there. I could view the tops of people’s heads while they passed by. I could see the buildings, the trams, the statues and trees all better. It used to be nice to not feel the distress of not being able to view places while I strolled.
My mother imagined I would be spoiled if I would always demand to sit on his shoulders. So I asked him whenever only we both walked together. Though he knew how much I loved observing, for all the drawings I made of the things I saw outside, nature I loved being present in and the peculiar details of certain personalities I saw.
I vividly remember as soon as I was placed, with each step he hummed, like a soldier marching. “Hmm, hmmm!” he sang in a deep voice as he confidently paced in synchronicity while we head towards the ice cream shop.
We arrive and he places me down, asking me to select the flavours. I was never the person who would follow suggestions. So even though my father asked me to try pistachio, I would always go for the most unusual looking ice cream colour. I pointed at blueberry and looked up at the young woman in her apron. She smiled and asked in Italian, “So you’ve picked blueberry? Any other flavour you would like to add sweetheart?” I looked around with wide eyes, examining every flavour. I could not read by then, so I could only distinguish their uniqueness with the colour or perhaps if any fruit was drawn on the placards. I nodded in negative and waited for my ice cream to be handed over.
My father was right. Pistachio is indeed worth the try. But I am glad I made my own choices. I was given the space to learn from my own experiences. He and I are uncannily similar when it comes to our wants to explore. He learns from me and I learn from him. And together we grow, understanding each other.
The lady in the apron looks at me like I am the purest form of joy breathing. Perhaps I was. My concentration was fixated upon the curiosity of tasting that blue coloured ice cream. And it was all. All the worry was there. Whether it would disappoint me, and I would have come back again some other day to try another flavour.