“It’s all your fault,” she said, voice quivering, tears streaming from her tiny eyes. There at her feet lay a vanilla ice cream cone, melting in the July sun.
He postured, instinctively defiant. Had she been older than four, he’d have chastized her about being more careful, about carrying things with two hands when they’re heavy. He’d have told her that it wasn’t his fault, it was never his fault; it was her fault, always her fault. And then he’d laugh as she cried harder.
But, he just couldn’t bring himself to make her cry. Her eyes — big, brown and shiny pools with a starburst of hazel from the pupil — always had this effect on him. He melted to her whim, and before he knew it, his hand extended; the hand holding his ice cream cone, bigger than her original one. His double scoop vanilla, double dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. His special, his favorite. She wiped her eyes and smiled through her tears, her face lit up with anticipation as she took hold of the cone.
“I’ll be extra careful next time.”