they were 6 by jesse prado

Sitting in their grandmother’s living room on a Saturday afternoon, with the television turned on to Salute Your Shorts without watching it.

They practiced smiling at each other instead without blinking or stopping until the music of a truck driving down their street, just outside, extracted their attention from this somewhat strenuous activity.

While staring at the truck’s menu, the grandson wanted Sonic the Hedgehog’s skull on a Popsicle stick, because he owned a Super Nintendo, and so having that would be the closest he would ever get to own that video game that he would never have and would always want subconsciously. She wanted a strawberry shortcake for no particular reason. Without thinking about the price, he ran inside to get three dollars from his grandmother, as she waited for him, patiently distracting the ice cream man without saying anything.

The ice cream man let him slide on a quarter he was missing from their total purchase, and they started sharing their ice cream once this truck left them standing in the middle of the street. They stood there in the middle of the street sharing ice cream with smiles on their faces until their grandmother came outside to call them back in. Grandma looked busy with curlers in her hair as she asked her granddaughter why she didn’t have an ice cream for herself.

The granddaughter told her grandma that she didn’t have any money. One of grandma’s curlers fell out when she asked her grandson why that was. Without blinking, he told his grandma that she didn’t give them enough money.

Grandma stood there sort of wondering how much she gave her grandchildren to get ice cream until their parents came to pick them up at times that were very far apart from one another. She never told either of her own children what happened to each of theirs when they came to pick them up. And nobody wondered other than grandma why those two children of hers never saw each other again, until 20 years later from that particular day, which she only noticed for how much more often she saw her grandson than her granddaughter.

The mystery of this made her feel like something else happened between her grandchildren on that particular day.

She never found out, yet always wondered, without ever jumping to any conclusions.
Jesse Prado lives indoors, somewhere in Hayward, California and edits poetry at