L's favorite thing is to go for ice cream. She gets the kids' cup, which is one scoop, but she usually succeeds in sweet-talking the counter person into splitting her scoop into two different flavors. Then she makes the difficult decisions -- gummy bears? M&Ms? Sprinkles? Oh, what is a girl to do?
I always order a malted milkshake. There are two reasons. 1) Yum. 2) Nobody else in my family likes malt, and so nobody
We sat at a pink linoleum table with our treats and L, with the elegance of a lady at high tea, requested that I tell her a story. And then as her spoon lingered in midair a moment too long and she dripped ice-creamy sprinkles on my foot, this is what I told her.
I love chocolate malt balls, but I especially loved them when I was pregnant with each of the girls. During those pregnancies I craved malt balls -- in fact, they were the only craving I had. At least three times a week I stopped inside the little convenience store inside our building at work to buy a snack bag of malt balls. And because we're friends, I'll be honest with you and tell you that there were some weeks I needed malt balls every day.
As soon as we knew that I was pregnant for the third time, the lovely husband surprised me with a gift of malt balls. It was a weeknight and we had just gotten both girls to sleep and I was first-trimester-exhausted and he was so proud of his thoughtfulness and he should have been -- it was a delightful sweet gesture. He brought me this box of malt balls, huge, like the kind meant to be shared at the movie theater.
Wasn't that sweet?
Well, no. I opened the box and took the first bite and it tasted..not pleasant at all. It was a strange sensation, that this familiar flavor that I knew to have brought me pleasure in the past was bringing me none. I couldn't take another bite, and though I was five or six weeks' pregnant, in that moment I knew that tiny fetus G would be a boy.
With him, it turned out, I craved a near-daily Heath Bar. Yum. And in the intervening time, malt balls have tasted delicious again, but never as delicious as when sweet L was last still in my belly.
I told her that on Sunday as she ate her grape ice cream with chocolate ice cream with sprinkles, and she filled with a specific pride. And that, of course, is the point of our alone-time dates, although my milkshake was really delicious, too.