Walking with Eggshells

It couldn’t have lasted more than ten minutes
The whole moment.
The ice cream was still domed in the cone
When we arrived back-
I remember that much
Though the flavour has been lost in the decades.
Haagen Dazs.
Sugar cone.
Perhaps with caramel sauce.

I see us in my memory
The child and the student in charge.
I suppose to all others that day
we may have looked like family.
It didn’t seem a big thing
He held my hand
Walking through the shops
So we didn’t get separated in the crowds.
So he didn’t get lost.
A toilet stop next to an ice cream shop. Impulsively
Let’s get one while we’re here.

The look of the social worker’s face
Unreadable on our return.
I’d never seen an expression like it before.

Later at the disco there was chaos
Duck eggs smashed.
Fighting. Shouting. Tables upturned like the  capsized kayaks.
Tears of anger, rage roaring.
We were out of our depth-
Capsized too:
Students wanting to change the world
With a week of wonderland.
They dismissed us; the leaders,
So they could take back control.

I caught his eye, imploring him to stop.
It was their last night
Before they went back.
Why were they wrecking it?

The social worker took me aside
the day they left
Told me in all the years
Never had that child ever shown
The hand holding.
He had not believed his eyes.

That moment had lasted less than an ice cream.
And a part of me duck egg cracked.

The coach took them away.
Back to their lives.
We walked back to ours-
We didn’t have as far to go.
We moved slowly to our halls
Sidestepping the smashed duck eggs-
Shells like shattered sugar cones
Gripped too hard in a hand
wanting to hold on.
To not be lost.
Yolks reminiscent of
The still domed icecream
Dribbled on the floor
Like safe tears of rage.

Looking at the shattered shells
I aged a little knowing why,
They’d found the only way
They could. They knew. To cry.

Author: Lowrey E. Gray

Usually found with a cup of tea, a pet or a book, I am most content with life's humble gifts. A catch up with friends and home baked cakes is my idea of bliss. My heart beats where my family are close but my soul will always be in that place between sunset and sunrise. 💚

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