I fall in love with all my might, and utterly exhausted by that, I go out for an ice cream sundae. At the ice cream parlor, I find Sumiko at the counter in the midst of ordering a formidable seven-scoop sundae with assorted nut and fruit toppings. She looks surprisingly slender today, but maybe it’s because summer has just started.
“Going all out?” I ask, my voice raised just above the boisterous din of the kids enjoying ice cream behind us.
“Yeah…I’m totally wiped out,” she says. “More crushed walnuts please,” she says to the clerk.
“Same here,” I reply. “I’m in dire need of a banana spilt. With extra hot fudge.”
“Extra hot fudge isn’t what you need,” she says, shaking her head.
Not following, I raise a doubtful eyebrow.
“And some shredded coconut but only on the pistachio and mango scoops,” she requests, then tells me, “What you’re looking for is caramel syrup. It’ll do wonders. Especially with whipped cream.”
“Really?” I can’t help but be skeptical. I’ve never had that before. No one has ever recommended it to me.
“Trust me, I’m not a novice in these matters. I’ve been where you are plenty of times,” she says. “Raspberry sauce on the vanilla scoop, please.”
“All right then. Thanks for the tip.”
“Any time,” she says to me and then to the clerk, “Can I get an extra maraschino cherry on that?”
“Sorry, miss. We’re running low right now. One per sundae until we get some more,” the clerk says.
“You can have mine,” I tell Sumiko.
“Thanks. I could really use an extra maraschino cherry right now,” she says, and then I notice just how weary she looks.