A little child of ice skittered on the plastic surface in the refrigerator. Reverse ice-skating. I slid the container of grapes out and swept the child out into my free hand.

“Would you look at that? The back of our refrigerator’s frozen,” I said to Michael.

As Michael rummaged around the back delightedly, I went to the window and cracked it open. “I wish,” I said, holding up the ice-child, “for happiness.” I threw the ice out into the greenery below.

“It’s like Tanabata, but with ice instead of paper, and throwing them instead of hanging them…”

Michael rolled his eyes at my weak grasp of Japanese culture and went to the window with a handful of ice children.

He wished for good grades, winning the World Game, and some other things.

I took three more children. “Negate all of Michael’s wishes.” Out went one. “Just kidding.” Two. “And the last…” I handed it to Michael. “You can do the honors.”

Michael cradled it in his palm. “Let’s agree on something together, since it’s a collective thing.” I nodded. “Let’s say…great success in grad school?” He wished clearly for a specific graduate school, and I asked for “happiness [and prosperity]” without specifics.

Michael pitched the ice-child as hard as he could; it fell short of the road and rustled somewhere in the greenery.



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