on the eve of new year’s eve, my funny aunt was adamant that i should partake of the post-xmas sales so she drove me and maeve to chaswood for the afternoon. “i don’t really have anything to buy,” i protested. “well. maybe a non-slip mat for the bath tub.”
and then suddenly there was a melanine bowl and platter, for the child; a mini muffin baking tray, for the child; two dr seuss books, for the child; a non-slip mat for the bath tub, for the child; and a tin of vanilla tea, from the reduced xmas food shelves, for me.
we adjourned for afternoon tea in a basement food court, and i hovered at the bubble tea shop toying with the idea of ordering an ice mountain. the lit-up picture was most enticing: a great matterhorn of multicoloured ice, surrounded with a selection of jellies and red bean. but then i had to point at this thing that appeared on the counter, a tall sundae glass full of colourful swirls and other treasures, green and pink and brown and milky and a high peak of shaved ice drenched in bright syrups.
“what’s that?” i asked the counterboy.
“oh, that is rainbow ice,” he replied.
“ohhh. is it better than ice mountain?”
“…” he thought about it. “uh. ice mountain has five flavours, and rainbow ice has six.”
“oh, so rainbow ice is better?”
“you want the rainbow ice?”
“do you want condensed milk or coconut milk?”
“…i…don’t…know… which one is better?”
when it was done, mine was much less swirly and colourful, topped with only a cursory mound of pink ice, and came in a plastic tumbler, so i suppose that woman, who had received the showcase model, she was probably his mother.
but it was sweet and cold. and the child kept l lunging at it with open mouth and crazy eyes, until i distracted her with a chocolate and banana crepe.
making the crepe, the counterboy placed an entire sliced banana next to a handful of chocolate melts. god forbid anyone would want the chocolate melting all over the warm banana. anyway, that didn’t end up being an issue, because barely enough time elapsed on the hot plate for significant melting to take place before monsieur crepe was plated.
“do you want ice cream or cream?” asked the counterboy. this really threw me because the sign said “all crepes served with cream and ice cream.”
in the end, i picked the ice cream, and it was the smallest scoop on the world, as though it were a postage stamp on the surface of the crepe, just enough postage to make it to my mouth. it also had a peculiar gummy texture. but maeve saved me from dwelling on all the deficiencies of it by miraculously mastering the art of the spoon, and scooping the lot into her mouth.
the chocolate was compound.