deepundergroundpoetry.com

The Ice Cream Shoppe

The first time I was invited to Mark's house, he played the piano for me. He wasn't a hack. His long fingers were all over the keyboard, doing complicated mathematical things. Later he cooked his "killer" risotto, stirring and stirring without impatience, and with seemingly little effort. Mark was a Price Waterhouse accountant. Mark had a TV mounted above his sunken jacuzzi tub. Mark knew how to pronounce any given French wine, and if you wanted a return invitation you'd better be able to as well.
  
Mark and I were friends before the internet, before I knew everyone was crazy, not just me. Most seemed to do a better job of coping than I did, but maybe they only had one disorder, not a ugly trifecta of ADD, clinical depression, and Bipolar II. My friends, all for the most part better than me, kept me around because I was smart, and deeply funny.  
   
When it came to my depression, I'd heard every exhausted adage and dismissive command in the book:  
   
"Snap out of it."  
Snap this.  
   
"Things will get better."  
How? They'll likely get worse.  
 
"When I was working as a swimsuit model while getting my doctorate, I felt just like you do."  
Dead wrong, but thanks for playing.  
   
It was a warm evening in Denver, in a tony neighborhood. Dogs caught Frisbees, families barbequed, and the line was languidly long in the darling little ice cream shop. It was too perfect. My god at the time hated perfect. I had one foot in the elevator shaft, ready to plummet.  
   
"This is too perfect" I said to Mark. And then in a quieter voice after a short pause: "I feel like someone is going to get shot."  
   
On the verge of chastising myself for being tranparently psycho, I see Mark smile. "That's awesome" he says.  
   
A moment later he launches into a Rod Serling voice: "A simple cone of chocolate, on a rarefied summer's evening..."    
   
I don't remember what he said after that. What I do remember is conferring that the bullet would go through the center of the ball of ice cream, leaving a perfectly spherical hole.    
   
Mark's piano playing had intimidated me more than impressed me. Likewise for his risotto. But ice cream with a perfect bullet hole through it? Genius. And in a lifetime of few knowing how to console me, Mark went right into the dark zone with me and brought me into the light.
Written by Pinkdreams
Published
Author's Note
This is a recall of an experience around 1997. The absurdity of feeling like someone was going to be shot was still an absurdity back then. I still struggle with depression, but to a lesser extent now.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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