Lydia touched her rainbow sherbet to the end of her nose and I leaned forward to wipe it off.
“You know what I like?” she said, looking out the window of the ice cream shop.
“What do you like, Lydia?”
She touched the cone to her nose again and smacked her pink lips. “I like cucumbers.”
“Oh yeah?” I leaned forward to wipe off her nose again.
“Yes. Cucumbers.” She said dreamily.
“What do you like about cucumbers?”
She smiled at me with an orange goatee that she quickly erased with her tongue. “Everything.” She took a deep breath. “I like growing cucumbers, and I like picking cucumbers. I like smelling cucumbers. I like eating cucumbers. I like cucumbers cold. I like cucumbers in a salad. I like cucumbers on sandwiches. I like cucumbers in little pieces and big pieces. I like warm cucumbers. I like hot cucumbers. I like cucumbers at home and cucumbers not at home. Cucumbers are just great.” She licked at her cone.
“What about cucumber ice cream?” I asked.
She was pulled from her reverie and stared at me as if she had only just now noticed I was there, “What?”
“Do you like cucumber ice cream? Can you imagine? That would be pretty good, right?”
She scrunched up her face, “Um, no. That does not sound good.” And then she shook her head and mumbled under her breath, “…cucumber ice cream.” She thought for a second or two. “Actually Dad, I really don’t like cucumbers, I only like the WORD Cucumbers. I just like saying it.”
“Oh,” I said, “I understand.”
She looked me in the eyes and said, “cucumbers.”
“Yes,” I nodded.
She looked at her little brother sitting next to me, “Cucumbers?”
“Coo-cumber,” he echoed.
She turned to look back out the window. “Cucumbers…” A bird flew past in the parking lot. “Cucumbers…” The sun slowly splashed into the horizon. “Cucumbers…” I closed my eyes and touched an ice cream cone to my nose. “Cucumbers…”