Well Tom and Ben aren't little kids anymore but the BIG kids want some ice cream too. How many of you would like to line up and get some?
“Hey, Ben? It’s too nice a day to stay inside, let’s go to the park.”
Ben had his head in a book; he still loved to hold a book in his hand, as opposed to an e-reader. Ben loved going to the family-owned bookstore in town, as well as to the library.
“Huh? Oh yeah, that sounds like a good idea, honey.” Ben placed his bookmark— the one Tom gave him for his last birthday. It had a photo of a waterfall, with a forest around it. Tom said he wished he could get Ben to a place like that, and Ben told him he’d like to be standing under that waterfall, naked, with Tom’s hands all over his body. Ben couldn’t keep the smile from breaking out on his face at the memory of what happened next, when Tom took him to the next best thing to that waterfall that they had available—the shower.
“What are you smiling about?” Tom wondered. He was standing by the fireplace, waiting for Ben to put the book aside so they could leave.
“Oh, uh, nothing. Let’s go to the park.”
It was nice enough that they didn’t need a jacket, and the park was not far so they walked over. Tom didn’t think twice about entwining his fingers around Ben’s. They held hands all the way to the park.
“Heads up!” A shout-out caused Tom to release Ben’s hand in time to catch an errant Frisbee.
“Hey, throw it!” the teenager told Tom. Tom was only too glad to show off his muscles and gave the Frisbee a good throw. It sailed through the air and was caught several yards away by one of the other teens in the group.
“That was some throw, mister.” The first teen, the one that’d told Tom to throw it back, commented.
“Well, he has to be strong. He’s a firefighter after all,” Ben told him. He was proud of Tom and didn’t mind telling people what his man did for a living.
“Wow, really? My uncle’s a firefighter. He works in Philadelphia. I’m thinking of being one too.”
“It’s a hard job, but it can be very rewarding.” Tom knew that it wasn’t always a happy time, when you’re out there trying to save people’s lives ,and sometimes you lost people—sometimes even your fellow firefighters, that hurt the worst. But when you saw the elation on the family and friends of the people you did save, and knew that you made a difference, it made it all worth it.
“Come on, Tom.” Ben took his hand and practically dragged Tom through down the path to the other side of the park.
“Ben, where are you taking me?”
“Can’t you hear it?” Ben asked him, incredulously.
“Hear what, I don’t…” Then there it was. The sound was so faint he’d have missed it if Ben hadn’t apparently heard the sound of music, the jingle that could only mean one thing. He swore Ben must have the ears of a dog; he could hear things better than he could. He even joked he had the hearing of Radar O’Reilly, the character from one of their favorite TV shows, M*A*S*H.
“The ice cream man is here.” Ben chuckled like a little boy and pulled Tom the rest of the way. They stood in line with the rest of the ‘kids’, waiting their turn to get a frozen treat.
Tom got rocky road on a waffle cone and Ben got himself a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream and a cherry on top.
They walked over to a nearby bench and sat down to enjoy their treats. “Mmmm, this sure brings back memories. I remember when me and my sister would beg our parents for money to get some ice cream.”
Tom remembered how he’d go to the ice cream truck after a dip in the town pool. The weather was so hotand you could feel the heat radiating off the truck’s engine. How glad he was when he got his ice cream so he could cool off.
“Brings back memories for me, too, but you know what I’m most glad of?” Tom said as he brought the cone close to his mouth, so he could lick off the ice cream that was melting along the sides.
“The new memories I’m making with you. I’m so glad you’re in my life and that we’re spending today together.”
Ben stopped eating his sundae and put the spoon into the ice cream and put it down on the bench. He reached up and brought Tom’s face towards his and kissed him. “I love you. And I count my lucky stars that you’re in my life too.” There was a moment of silence between them.
“Wanna try my sundae?” Ben turned back into a kid again.
“Sure, honey.” Tom opened his mouth and let Ben feed him the tasty treat.
“How about we take in a movie? The new Star Trek movie just came out and it’s playing at the cinema a few blocks from here.”
“Yeah, I’d love that. I heard it’s very good.” Tom and Ben were confirmed Trekkers, and they loved the new cast and how well J.J. Abrams had carried the torch that was passed onto him.
They finished their treats and took a stroll towards the theater, hand in hand.