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And the ice cream van drew off and you held on to the side by your finger tips until the van picked up a mild speed when you jumped off and tried to remain on your feet without falling and only by sheer luck or balance did you manage it and the other kids clapped hands and cheered but Ingrid said thought you'd hurt yourself don't your mother care about you doing that? she doesn't know you said you don't tell her what you do? she said of course not you replied she has enough to worry about without me giving her more worry Ingrid frowned but why do it? holding on to the van I mean? because it's there a challenge
like climbing Mount Everest I guess you said she played with her fingers nervously as if knitting an invisible sock I worry about you she said I guess that's what girls do you replied walking through the Square she by your side her food stained dress having yellow flowers her grey socks her hair pinned by steel grips not all girls she said least not about you you smiled I hope not you said girls suck you dry always on about soft things or about dolls or babies or such matters I don't she said I think of you and you being safe I'm safe you said you patted your six shooter toy gun
wedged in your holster and you're safe too you added wish I was she said softly well apart from your old man you said but apart from filling him full of cap smoke or hitting him on the bonce with my six shooter butt isn't much I can do about him you said she looked at you smiling weakly maybe one day we could run off together she said and live in one of those houses in the Wild West you nodded yes good idea and I can ride a real horse and keep cattle she nodded and I can keep house and have babies sure you said and if your old man comes worrying you
I can plugged him full of lead.