It was around 9:00 p.m. on a Friday, when Matt and Jake were at the park playing basketball. They had played a few one-on-one games together, and each time Matt won all of them. Jake joked that Matt won for obvious reasons, and Matt couldn’t help but laugh at this. After they were done playing basketball, they sat down, talked and laughed with each other.
As they were walking away from the park, they noticed two figures in the dark were walking towards them. At first, Matt and Jake were hesitant to walk, until they realized that the figures were two girls. One was a blonde, and the other one was a brunette. When they walked past the girls, Matt made eye contact with the brunette. She smiled at him and continued walking the opposite direction. Even though it was dark outside, Matt could see there was a light inside her. There was something special and authentic about her. She was a true beauty. He could feel it, and he knew that he couldn’t let her get away. So, he stopped walking, turned around and yelled, “Hey, what’s your name?”
The brunette turned around, smiled and yelled that her name was Claire. Then, her friend introduced herself as well and yelled that her name was Sam. Jake pulled Matt to the side asked what he was doing. Matt whispered that he wanted to get to know Claire, and Jake understood. Matt wanted him to distract Sam, while he had a little alone time with Claire. Jake agreed to help Matt and be his wingman.
Matt and Jake walked towards the girls and talked a little bit with them. They found out that they went to the same school together. Eventually, Matt and Claire were able to walk together alone, while Jake was with Sam. There was an instant spark between Matt and Claire. They connected with each other in ways that couldn’t be explained. Matt saw the light clearly that was inside of Claire, but he wondered what she saw. As Matt and Claire were walking, they found themselves in front of Sal’s Ice Cream Shop. Matt explained that he loved the ice cream there and couldn’t get enough of it. Claire informed Matt that she works at the ice cream shop. Matt was excited to hear this and joked that she could give him some free ice cream then. She laughed and said, “That’s not how it works, Matt. You have to earn free ice cream.”
Matt smiled at her and said, “Ok, I’ll earn it. When’s the next time you work there?”
She giggled and responded, “I work tomorrow from 3-9.”
“Ok, I’ll swing by tomorrow at around 8:30, then afterwards maybe we can hangout here in the park again. Just me and you,” Matt said.
She got a little close to Matt, smiled and said that she would like that. Matt was happy to hear this.
When they made it back to their friends, Jake and Sam were ready to leave. Sam and Claire went away, and Claire waved goodbye to Matt.
The next day, Matt was constantly thinking about Claire and couldn’t wait to see Claire at Sal’s Ice Cream Shop, but he was nervous. Matt was always nervous and anxious about things. He texted Jake to see if he could come with him to the ice cream shop, and Jake was happy to be his wingman. Matt was relieved and thankful to have Jake as a friend. It was nice to have a friend, Matt thought.
Matt and Jake were in the park playing basketball, when Jake noticed that it was 8:25 p.m. Jake told Matt that it was time to go to Sal’s Ice Cream Shop, but Matt was having second thoughts. Matt was scared of being around so many people, especially at night, but Jake assured him that everything would be fine. Jake had Matt’s back. Matt reluctantly believes Jake, and they start walking to Sal’s Ice Cream Shop.
When they arrive at Sal’s Ice Cream Shop, it’s extremely crowded. There are a lot of people around the shop, and they give Matt a weird look. A few older people murmur about Matt, but he tries to not think about them and is only focused on seeing Claire. Jake and Matt stand in line, and Matt is both nervous and excited to see Claire. As they got closer to the windows, Matt catches a glimpse of Claire. His heart skips a beat. Lights were shining on Claire, and he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she truly was. When Matt and Jake made it to the windows, Jake went to a window with one girl, while Matt went to Claire’s window. Claire was excited when she saw Matt. She gave the most perfect smile to Matt. Claire and Matt shared a few giggles, until someone yelled at Matt to order something. They quickly stopped giggling, and Matt asks for a small, vanilla cone.
Claire then said, “Wait, don’t get that. You should get a small, vanilla cone with purple sprinkles on it. People around here think that it’s gross because of the way it looks, but it’s actually the most amazing thing ever. You have to try it, please?”
Claire adorably begged Matt to try a small, vanilla cone with purple sprinkles on it, and Matt loved it. He couldn’t help but smile at her. However, he didn’t think that it sounded appealing. It didn’t make sense to him.
So, he replied, “I’ll just stick with a plain, vanilla cone, but I might try it some other time.”
Claire does a cute frown, and Matt can’t help but laugh at her. She smiled back at Matt and asked, “You promise you’ll try it?”
Matt responded that he promised to eventually try the vanilla cone with purple sprinkles. Claire was happy to hear this and made him a vanilla ice cream cone. She handed it to him and said that she’ll see him after work.
Matt replied, “Sounds good, I’ll be waiting in the park for you.”
Matt and Jake went to the park and hung out with each other. Matt told Jake everything that happened at Sal’s, and Jake was proud of him.
When Matt saw Claire coming to the park, Matt immediately told Jake that he had to go. Jake said, “Oh, so I’m just a piece of meat that you can just toss around whenever you want?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” replied Matt.
They laughed with each other, and Jake told Matt that he’ll see him Monday at school. Then, Jake left the park.
A minute later, Claire reached Matt in the park, and they were alone together on a starry night.
On Monday, as Matt was at high school and sitting alone at lunch, he couldn’t help but think about his time with Claire on Saturday. It was an authentic, wholesome time for him. That same day, Matt found out that Claire took the same bus as him. They sat together on the bus and talked and laughed with each other like they did on Saturday. He couldn’t believe that he never noticed her on the bus. Truthfully, he never really noticed people on the bus because he had always kept his head down.
For a few weeks, Matt and Claire continued to build a strong connection with one another. Claire was someone that Matt could really talk to about anything, and he was always appreciative of that. However, he could never tell the truth about himself to her. Matt kept himself hidden from her like he did with others.
Matt often visited Sal’s Ice Cream Shop to see Claire. Each time, she would plead for Matt to a vanilla ice cream cone with purple sprinkles. Each time, he would say he would try it some other time. He just wanted to make a safe choice when it came to his ice cream.
As things were progressing for Matt and Claire, Matt was nervous and bothered by it. He knew that if they were to be in a relationship, then she would find out the truth about him. Also, Matt didn’t want her to be a part of his world. Matt’s world was filled with hatred, loneliness, despair and self-pity. He didn’t want his world to corrupt Claire, a sweet and innocent girl. Most importantly, he was worried about others. He worried that people would make their lives hell because of who he is, and Matt wanted to do what was best for Claire.
Matt didn’t know what to do or how to go about pushing Claire out of his life. Matt didn’t want to tell her the truth because it would expose him. Maybe she would’ve been accepting and understanding of who he was, but Matt didn’t want to take that chance. There was only one option.
Matt ignored her. He stopped texting and calling her, avoided her at high school and didn’t sit next to her on the bus. People at high school noticed that Matt was giving Claire the cold shoulder. One day, Claire decided that she wasn’t going to take it. Matt was sitting at his usual spot on the bus, the back of it, and Claire sat next to him. Matt was silent. He just looked out the window and paid no attention to Claire. He could tell that Claire was hurt by this. Then, an unfortunate thing happened next. A girl on the bus turned to Claire and shouted, “Can’t you see that he doesn’t like you. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
Claire was close to crying, and Matt felt bad about it. He wanted to respond and tell people on the bus that he actually truly cared about Claire. However, he looked around the bus and saw who he was surrounded by. Also, he realized that his silence would be the end of them potentially being together. Matt thought to himself that Claire deserved to be with someone better than him. He wasn’t worthy to defend Claire or be with her. It would be better to be safe than sorry.
So, Matt was silent and the people on the bus laughed at Claire. She was embarrassed and hurt that Matt wasn’t there for her. When the bus stopped at her place, she ran off the bus, and Matt could see that she was crying. It devastated Matt that he broke an angel’s heart.
A few years passed, and Matt is still devastated by the decisions that he made regarding Claire. He avoided Sal’s Ice Cream Shop and the park as much as he could, so that he wouldn’t see Claire. He often wishes that he could tell her the truth and explain himself, but he’s too afraid to. Instead, he chooses to live with regret and shame in his heart, yet he longs for redemption.
Now, Matt goes to Sal’s Ice Cream Shop and a little part of him hopes to see Claire behind the window. However, he knows that he’ll never see her because she doesn’t work there anymore. For Matt, it doesn’t hurt to hope. Then, he always orders a vanilla ice cream cone with purple sprinkles. It’s actually really amazing to him. Although he enjoys it, he is often sad because he waited so long to realize that purple sprinkles on a vanilla ice cream cone was an amazing thing in this world.