This late in the summer there’s a permanent river of orange syrup dripping down my tiny palm—and on Saturdays we turn the garden hose into a make-believe water park. My sister and I steal the splashes aimed for Azalea bushes and our great grandmother’s white peonies.
Dad is sitting in an old lawn chair—he’s the only person I know that can bite into a popsicle without convulsing. When we’re outside he plays mother hen—switching his gaze between us and the stop sign in front of the house. It’s the stop sign he had the city install—the stop sign that hardly anyone actually stops at. Too many times my sister has untangled herself from my parents grasp and run out into the street. Now, like clockwork, we watch our father straighten in his chair as the sound of tires and engines quake from up the hill. All three of us watch as cars roll through the invisible line—then the two of us watch as Dad jumps up. He barks at them—waving the Dreamsicle in his hand like a homemade traffic light.
He stays there until their tail lights disappear and the last bite of his treat is gone. My tongue takes another lap of orange sweetness as Dad turns to see our soaked bodies paused beneath the hose. Even the chill of water can’t keep the popsicle sticks from drooling uncontrollably down our fingers. “Don’t tell your mother we had these,” Dad says, tossing the sticks in the bin. I nod, turning back towards the garage door. Standing there I can hear the quiet sizzle of the kitchen coming to life. She’ll uncover our secret as soon as the three of us greet her with cool sticky kisses that taste like midsummer dreams.
Taylor Wyna is a writer from Birmingham, Alabama whose work has been featured in Aura Literary Arts Review, Reckon Women, and The Daily Drunk. She is the Founder and EIC of Camellias, a Southern Regional magazine dedicated to the modern Southern woman. Say ‘hi’ on Twitter @TayyWyna