He sat on the bench closest to the ice cream shop. The shop sold cones with one to eight coups. No one ever took more than four. The man knew this because he sat on the bench every day. He knew that vanille ice cream was the most popular. Second was stracitella, third was chocolate. Behind the counter was a boy of about twenty that scoped the ice cream from the different boxes behind the glass counter. His fingers were gentle with the cones, as if he used to hold them too tight and broke a few.

Every time the boy bend over to thand the cone with coupes to a costumer, he would press his lips together and twist up the corners of this mouth. Some of the costumers did the same. Some would only twitch one corner. Others would bare all their teeth and even put up their chin a little. Children did it too. Their faces would beam, their mouths fully open, and a high-pitched rythmic sound would escape. They displayed this behaviour mostly in combination with running around, playing with toys, and while being tickled. Adults produced sound too, but often in the context of a conversation. They would nod and hum in accordance with this strange upward twisting of their mouth-corners, or produce rythmic sounds ranging from almost inaudible soft whining to hysterial outbursts of a harsh, uncontrollable nature. Sometimes they would put a hand in front of their mouth and look away.

It has always puzzled the man. Today he had to visit the optician. A tight knot was present in his stomach when he tought of what would happen. The woman who measured his eyes tended to do the lip-pressing-together a lot. Her mouth-corners never rested in their original place. It had tired him. He had tried to copy the movements last time, tried to mirror every up and down twitch and her tongue that ocassionally stroked her upper lip. She had suddenly stopped and her lips turned into a pale line. She had handed him the results and told him his glasses still matched his eye sight.

The man would spend hours in front of his window, observe people passing by, concluding that they did not do the lip-twitching all the time. When was he supposed to do it? What was the purpose? Every day, just before he went to bed, he would stare at his own reflection, and practise. He talked and felt some comfort in the tone of his voice. It sounded like other male’s voices. He would study the line of his cheeks and chin and conclude it was similar to other male’s faces. He would smell his arms and armpits and knew it was the smell of other male’s from the gym. He studied his posture, his shoulder line, the muscles in his arms and legs and feel the solidness when he tensed his muscles. He could only wonder if that was normal. He had observed males in the gym and seen their muscles looked like his. He had wanted to touch, but in his chest there had been a cramp that had warmed him not to do that.

The man still sat on the bench closest to the ice cream shop. He knew it was time to go to the optician.


About chb

Writer, scientist, puzzled by mankind.
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