Ghirardelli’s Ice Cream

(this is a writing exercise I did on description)

The sweat rolling down my back soaked into my shirt and plastered it to my skin. Cars zoomed down Michigan Avenue, horns blaring and tires screeching. The acrid exhaust mixed with the sweltering air, choking me. I really wanted to go for a dip in the pool, but it was closed for cleaning. I would have to settle for the next best thing: ice cream at Ghirardelli’s. I practically ran down the block to the cheery blue and white striped awning.

I opened the door, and the air conditioning washed over me like a wave of relief. A smiling lady handed me a menu, and I stood in line next to the soda bar. Kids and adults perched themselves atop tall bar stools with red vinyl cushions, eagerly watching the employees make malts and sundaes. Soon, they’d be making mine.

But what should I get? There were so many choices! The World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae had two scoops of vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate syrup, and lots of whipped cream. The Golden Gate Banana Split had three scoops of ice cream, a banana sliced down the middle, crushed pineapple, sliced strawberries, chocolate syrup, and even more whipped cream. Yum! I decided on a butterscotch sundae, though, and placed my order.

I found a place to sit next to the window with the awning, where a man was wiping off some tables. The marble tabletop was still damp when I sat down, and smelled faintly of soap. I ran my fingers across the wet streaks, the marble cool on my fingertips.

A woman brought ice cream to the family sitting next to me, and the little boy squealed with delight. He stuck his hand into the whipped cream of the nearest sundae and spread it all over his face.

Another woman set my sundae in front of me. It was huge! The long-stemmed glass was filled to the brim with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch, and a huge mass of whipped cream—topped with a cherry—covered the whole thing.

I shoved a spoonful of whipped cream into my mouth. It was light and fluffy on my tongue, like I imagined a cloud would taste. I dug my spoon deep into the sundae, emerging with a dripping mound of ice cream and butterscotch. The sweetness of the ice cream blended with the richness of the butterscotch, and the cold soothed my hot tongue and throat. I took another bite, and butterscotch rolled down my chin. Giggling, I wiped it off and sank in my spoon for a third bite.

Slowly, the sundae disappeared until all that was left was a mixture of butterscotch and melted ice cream. I wrapped my sticky fingers around the stem of the glass and scraped out the last bite—tink-tink-tink! I put it in my mouth, slowly drew out the spoon, and pressed the butterscotch against the roof of my mouth. I let it ooze down my throat, savoring every last drop, then dropped the spoon into the empty glass.

It wasn’t a dip in the pool, but it was close enough.

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