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Lila hadn't been to see her mother in years. She didn't even remember clearly the incident in the ice cream shop, since Dad had skewed even the memory with his dry, harsh, anger. | But she remembered how she felt, as if she had eaten a quadruple scoop peach-strawberry-pistachio-amaretto ice cream cone. | Lila was allergic to all those things, plus lactose intolerant. Well, that metaphor worked better in her head. Anyway, she was finally going to see her mother again. Lila hoped she could come up with something else to talk about besides ice cream. | Again she thought of her father. Memories of his screeching inarticulate noises and his wild, naked twitching made her wince. She thought again of all of the buckets of vomit she had emptied and the bags and bags of heavy dog food she had carried. | When she finally sat face to face with her mother, they couldn't speak. Her father's shadow loomed over everything. And it spoke in whispers that cut to their very souls. "ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream..."