When she saw the ice on the cone with the red sparkles on them, her eyes misted in memory of her favorite sweet when she was four years old. It was only then that she remembered that bright red color on the white ball of snow.
It was January, and the decorations of the past Christmas still hung on the walls outside the houses of the neighbors. They were taking down their decorations that weekend, with her father at the top of the ladder holding the large parol.
His head was above the parol and he smiled at her. “How do I look Monnie?”
“You look silly, Dad. Really silly. The star is too big for you.”
“Is that so? Then I’ll wear the smaller parol, the one you made in school last November.”
“Ha ha ha, that’s too small, even for your head.”
“But I like that parol.”
“I hate that parol, Daddy, it’s too green.”
By now, her father was trying to climb down the ladder with the big parol of yellow, red, blue, and green. That parol used to sparkle a thousand lights during the evenings, the colors dancing with the stars, parading its luminescence across the neighborhood.
“Hey, Monnie, hold on to the ladder, will you? I’m going to come down now.”
“Okay, Daddy, but please wait a small while. I’m trying to get my hand out of this knot.”
The lights that hung around their house cost them a fortune in electric bills, but it was a pleasure to her father to see her gleam at the sight of those dancing little orbs, the brightest of which hung in the very middle outside the house.
“I’m holding on to the ladder now, okay.”
Monica couldn’t see her father’s face now, because it was covered by the large parol he was holding. Only his hands were visible.
No snow rained in the suburbs of this country, but whenever Monica sees the lights she remembers the song White Christmas because it was frequently played on the radio during the –ber months.
“I’m coming down, I’m going down. Okay, I’m going down.”
Daddy fell. He fell backwards onto Monnie. He fell to the ground.
And Monnie saw her father’s red blood on the white skirt she was wearing. His bright, pretty, red blood on the white, like Santa Claus in the snow. His head landed on her lap.
Her mother, by this time, had rushed out the door, calling her. “Monnie! What happened?”
“Daddy? Are you okay?”
“I’m okay, dear, just a scratch.” Her father got up. He kissed Monnie on the forehead. “My little angel, what would I do without you?”
Monica, by now, didn’t remember what happened after that. She didn’t remember that her father needed stitches and fractured an arm while she sat quietly in the hospital corridor.
What she did remember, though, was her first snow cone they got right after.