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I stood with my hands spread over the chilled glass like dark sea stars. If there had been fewer choices I would have picked long ago, but the array put my mind into a happy tingle of possibilities. There wasn't just all the flavors and toppings, but all the possible combinations. At least the choice of cone was simple enough, a plain waffle cone. As my breath fogged up the glass another shopper cut in front of me, reaching in decisively. I took a step back and waited until they were gone, this wasn't something I liked to rush. After a few more moments I shifted my gaze to my siblings.

"What should I get?"

Elena giggled, glancing up in my direction, "You are such a child."

"Well, Strawberry apple cinnamon is the flavor of the week, perhaps with pie pieces and apple chunks?" I asked and they replied with nods.

"Three strawberry apple cinnamons, topped with pie pieces and extra apple chunks."

"Ten dollars and seventy-five cents," The cashier chirped. I reached into my pocket for the crumpled up twenty our mother had given me.

Corbin quickly licked his ice cream, it had begun to slump precariously to one side, and there was nothing worse than losing an entire scoop to the dirty sidewalk. As usual, I dawdled on our way home, looking at the wall for new graffiti. The slums would never be as polished as our neighborhood. This part of the city was considered lower class. Gang violence, theft, and heavy drug use was common, but it had the best creamery on either side of the bridge and fine artwork spray painted each nightfall. Perhaps one day I'd make a tag of my own, step out in my black leggings and my hair in a messy bun. I smirked at the idea. Art was a passion of mine. I wouldn't call myself Picasso or anything, but I liked to think I was talented. In the midst of my daydream, a drop of strawberry made it onto my tank top. With a finger I scooped it up. I frowned momentarily at the stain before I felt my body collide into someone else's.

They grunted in anger and shoved me away. "Can't fucking walk, or did you not fucking see me?"

"I- I'm so sorry." I stuttered staring at her scowl. She didn't look like anyone from my neighborhood. In fact, traveling to the slums for ice cream was the only time I saw someone of her color. Her skin resembled that of melted chocolate and her unruly curls were almost black, only showing hints of deepest brown when the sun hit them.

"You back down easy." She giggled, "It was probably my fault, I was lost in my artwork."

I nodded, still taken back by her outburst.

"How sick is that gonna be when I finally finish it?" She asked, gesturing towards the sprayed design on the crumbling wall. "Just another session or two."

"You did that?" I asked enthusiastically.

She nodded."I also did the two black ones at the top with the giant 'A' and scribbles under them. It's my signature."

"But doesn't everyone judging your work and pretending they know what drove you to create it bother you?" I spoke from experience. Any doodles or paintings I had laying around my room were usually critiqued by my family members.

She threw her head back with a chuckle. "It ain't the fucking Mona Lisa. It's graffiti on a dirty ass street wall."

" It's also vandalism."

"Now you're just making excuses." She shook her head, slightly. "And it ain't very convincing."

"No, I -"

"You scared?" She interrupted with a smirk. I shook my head at a lost for words.

"Prove it. Tonight, same spot." She said before she walked away.

Ivory BlackRead this story for FREE!