There was nothing special about me. I did not have much to tell you except the fact that I am a thirteen year-old boy who was crazy about ice cream. Yes. I liked ice cream very much. Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, any tastes of ice cream that I could find in the small town I was living in. I’d like to eat ice cream in any kind of seasons; raining or shining, it had no difference for me. Shortly, I was an ice cream boy, just like what my friends called me.
At first my mom prohibited me consuming ice cream too much. “It is not good for your health, “She said. But you see, I could not help myself to stop eating ice cream. I did not waste another minute as I saw the sweet melted frozen cream was served in front of me. I would definitely enjoy it right away.
As every teenager in this town, I went to school every day. Every morning, I had to walk down the hill, run through a small forest that lied between my house and the town center with my black bag hanging on my back and holding my packed lunch in my hands before I could reach my school. I did not take the school bus because my house was located in quite an isolate area at the suburb of this town. The bus would not reach there. I did not mind walking to school anyway. The view was incredible; I really enjoy my journey to school.
One beautiful morning, I went to school as usual. There was nothing special about that morning. You know when the sun still shone so brightly and the birds were still singing everywhere, it was considered as a beautiful usual morning. The clock stroke at six thirty when I finished my breakfast, grabbed my packed lunch on the table, said goodbye to my mother, and run out the house. My mom yelled something but I was too far away to hear it. “It must be some advice not to eat too much ice cream,” I thought.
The hill was shaded by Mahoney trees which grew along its path. The wind blew the top of my head with their softly whistle. The air was so clean and fresh that I started to sing and run and jump along the way while thinking of having a cup of chocolate ice cream would be great.
“Come on! You just had a breakfast!” I heard the sleepy sound in my head. “Although you are still young, sooner or later, ice cream is going to kill you!”
“No way! Ice cream is never going to kill me! Never!” I said to myself loudly. Laugh. How can a thirteen year old boy be killed by ice cream? I kept on laughing. I could see a delicious chocolate ice cream painted in my mind. It was so clear as clearly as the morning clouds above.
In front of me, the small forest began too thick to go through. Although it was not a rainy season, the ground was so muddy so that for a moment I felt it was stuck on my shoes. “Perhaps I should take the school bus instead,” I murmured and tried to clean out my shoes.
Suddenly, I heard the cracks of some dried branches behind me. You know, there were not many neighbors living in my area. Sometimes some of them came to my house to have some tea and had a chat with my mom. But most of them were old people who enjoyed their retirement years.
I turned around and saw a woman standing right behind me. She was about my mother’s age, maybe a little bit older, and she was wearing a white blouse and a brown skirt. I stunned. I never saw her before. What does she want?
She was smiling and came towards me. I stepped back and watched her curiously.
“Don’t be afraid. I just want to say hi to you,” she said. Her voice was so sweet and calm. “Don’t you a boy who live up there?” she asked and pointed at the hill.
“Yes,” I replied. She was holding something in her hands. Something looked juicy and cold. I could see some ice drops from the outside. Ice cream! You know, as an ice-cream boy, I was used to recognize ice cream in any packaging.
She saw my look. She smiled and raised her hand. “Do you like ice cream? Do you want some?” she asked.
I could not move. I starred at the big plastic bag with some ice drops from the outside. “Hum, well, actually I already had breakfast and I have to go to school. Thanks, Ma’am,” I turned around and run as fast as I could. The image of chocolate ice cream she was holding still playing in my mind. I could not think anything and neither see the path in front of me. I stumbled and fell rolling down the forest.
My packed lunch slipped from my fingers. My mom always made some food for my lunch as she always wanted me to live in economic way. “Of course it will be much better if you bring your own food to school rather than buy it in the food stalls there. It is healthier and saves a lot of money,” her brown eyes smiled at me and she caressed my hair gently. “And don’t eat too much ice cream at school!” My mom knew me well. Sometimes she made a big bucket of ice cream in a hot and bright afternoon just to make me feel comfortable at home. She knew that I would ask her more money to buy ice cream and run across the town to get some. Although sometimes I did not obey her and ate at least two cups of ice cream at school, still, she was the most wonderful mother I have ever had. And then, I remembered nothing as I began to lose my conscience.
“Is he awake yet?”
“I don’t think so. He fell off pretty hard and his head was knocked against some stones. Lucky I was there.”
“Do you know him?”
“No. But I saw him once sitting down up hill and eating some ice creams.”
“Ice cream? What a coincidence.”
I heard some voices around me. I tried to open my eyes but it was not easy, you know, as my head was still in a spin. Pain in my neck hit me like a lightning. “Auuw!” I screamed.
“Hey, you’re awake,” a sweet and calm voice ran through my ears. It seemed I had heard it before.
“Can you move your neck?” a face smiled in front of me. That woman! That ice-cream woman! Where am I? I started to panic. You know that a kid should not be in a stranger’s house.
“You fell pretty hard. We brought you here. Now, please drink this, you will feel much better,” she gave me a cup of hot tea. I looked around. The room was small but cozy. And smell so good. Smell like some fruit or something like that.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“You are in my son’s bedroom. This is Leon, my daughter,” a boy who was a few years older than me looked at me sharply. He was tall and skinny.
“Your head was knocked pretty hard. Can you move your neck?” she asked.
I tried to move my neck. But all I could feel was pain.
“Oh no! Maybe I broke my neck! I want my mom!” I started to cry. I panic. Real panic. What if I could not move my neck anymore?
The woman said some nice things to calm me down. She asked my phone number and said that she would call my mom right away. Leon was sitting by the window. He was looking at the drama in his room while eating some ice cream. Yeah! Ice cream! In this pain surround my head, I could see a chocolate strawberry ice cream blended with some cherry all together in a glass he was holding. Leon ate it little by little, spoon by spoon. Just looking at that the glass, I knew that I wanted it so much.
“I want some ice cream,” I said. “Ice cream will make me calm.”
Leon was laughing. “No, Son! You should not eat ice cream now. You hurt so badly,” the woman got up and called my mom.
Next thing was so unbearable for me. My mom came a few minutes later and she was very worried.
“What happened?” My mom hugged me with tears running from her eyes. The woman stood still in the room and Leon still ate his ice cream.
I was taken to the hospital nearby and the doctor told me that my neck was hurt quite badly. “From now on, you should eat some soft food like porridge. Don’t eat some cold food like ice cream because you will have difficulties to swallow them,” those words struck me and all of a sudden I felt like losing myself.
Ice cream was everything to me. That’s why my friends called me an ice cream boy. I could not believe it that the situation could be turned upside down. By the sad look from my mother’s eyes, I would never forget that morning for the rest of my life. And ice cream, my friend, is now just a dream for me.
Jakarta, 23 May 2009 at 10.35 p.m.