The air tonight outside the Dairy Queen was as thick as the hot fudge atop my vanilla ice cream. Chase and I sat on the ledge in front of the business, eating our late night ice cream and watching cars whiz by in the darkness. Montague, New Jersey was covered in humidity; streetlights wore halos of moisture, condensation blurred the windows of the local shops, the chugging of air conditioners filled the air. I dipped my spoon into my sundae, and lifted the gooey mix of ice cream and topping to my mouth. It was so cold, it burned.
“Whenever I come to Dairy Queen, I think of Kentucky,” I said to Chase, who was scooping up a mouthful of his ice cream.
“Why’s that?” he said, his mouth full of Banana Cream Pie Blizzard.
“Because, remember when we’d visit Maw Maw and Paw Paw, in Calvert City? We’d always go to that Dairy Queen right there on the corner.”
“Oh yeah,” he laid his spoon in the cup, shooed a summer bug away from our vicinity. “That’s right. We’d go with Josh and Justin, right?”
“Yeah,” I looked across the road, Shop Rite’s huge yellow sign stretching above treetops. “And the Dairy Queen in Hopkinsville. You probably don’t remember that one, huh?”
“It was on that main drag, where Wal Mart was. Daddy used to take me there. We’d get strawberry sundaes.”
Chase’s red plastic spoon scraped his cardboard cup, searching for more Blizzard, and I realized that in those other Dairy Queens, in Kentucky, Chase and I didn’t get along. This was, perhaps, the first time we’d visited the franchise together willingly.
We’ve finally come full circle, from the sibling rivalry of our youth, to the best friends we are today.