It was just after tea-time and as we approached the old Victorian bridge over the river, my wife Clare looked anxious.
“I can’t see it,” she said, “It’s not there!” She was starting to panic.
It was a swelteringly hot afternoon last week, so we decided to take Meri and Arun out for a walk by the river to cool down a little and perhaps seek out some ice cream.
“Oh no, there it is under the trees” said Clare, suddenly relieved having finally spied the ice cream van. “Do you want one?” She asked me and Arun.
“No thanks,” we both replied and as Clare and Meri peeled off to get their flake 99s, Arun and I carried on towards the Bridge.
We met up again by a bench on the far side of the river where Clare and Meri started to dig into their ice creams.
Arun was eyeing Clare’s. He went up to her and said, “Want some ice cream.”
Now this may sound completely ordinary to you, but to us it was a revelation. Because of his disabilities Arun has major issues with his eating and this was the first time he had ever asked for ice cream like this.
He went over to Clare and leant in to take a lick. He wasn’t satisfied though. He reached over and said, “Want to hold it.”
Clare looked at me with a mixture of delight and horror – her son was doing something wonderfully normal but it did mean losing control of her ice cream.
Arun took charge of the ice cream and skipped off muttering, “Yum, yum, Ice cream.”
I looked back at Clare, her face looked like someone who had just lost their ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Meanwhile Arun was wandering around the park with a big smile on his face saying, “Want to hold it…Ice cream.” That was right up until he dropped it.
Arun looked at his (or technically his mother’s) precious ice cream on the floor. He was completely unfazed and totally ignoring my pleas of “Arun, its dirty now, don’t’ eat it,” he proceeded to pick up the ice cream and continued to eat it.
A few minutes later he had had his fill and he wandered over to the bin and dumped the remainder of the ice cream in it. He came back, his face covered in sweet, melting, white goo and a huge smile.
Clare just shook her head, “You know what? I love him so much I don’t even mind.” She was beaming with pride and pleasure at what she had just seen. I looked at her and felt pride, pleasure and love myself.
Until she spoilt it by looking at me and pointing out, “I wouldn’t let you share my ice cream.”
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