Most of my friends laughed when one time after school in 3rd grade, I casually mentioned that I wanted to be an ice cream man. I felt embarrassed, but I thought their job was the best. They would drive around the streets handing delicious treats to the neighborhood kids.
But then, my whole life changed. My younger sister wanted some ice cream one summer afternoon, but I didn’t want to come outside. I was hooked on a new video game that my dad had bought me, and I think I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know how to pause it yet. I yelled for my sister to grab the dollar bill in the jar by my bed, and to not touch anything else.
Excitedly, she asked me what I wanted and if the ice cream man would give her any change, she didn’t know how to count money very well at the time. I told her that the total would be fifty cents, and to bring the change back. That it should be two quarters.
With a big smile, she ran outside. I lost at the game I was playing and put the controller down and went outside.
The ice cream truck was turning the corner, without the music on. I didn’t know that I would be the last person to ever see my sister.
What followed was a mix of police reports, journalists calling and visiting my mom and dad, and sad stares of people feeling sorry for me everywhere I went.
The same ice cream man stopped passing by our street and was later caught and interrogated by the police as a prime suspect, but my sister would never be found.
My parents would sit with me in doctor offices, as they asked me questions about what I was thinking, and dumb questions about my favorite games and favorite toppings on pizza.
I don’t remember much of the rest of elementary school.
All I recall was thinking that I didn’t want to be an ice cream man anymore.