Café Au Lait

By Karla Davis


Photo credit: Chris JL


“Chocolate is brown, vanilla is white, strawberry is pink, lemon is yellow.” The young mother vocalizes these facts slowly to her small child. They are standing together in front of the store’s new ice cream display. Mama is teaching her daughter what is what.

The little girl, overwhelmed by the wide range of flavors, moves closer to the window display. She presses her round rosy-cheeked face and tiny fingers  against the window. She begins to recite what her mother had just told her, except that she gets it all wrong.

Pointing to the vanilla, she says, “Brown is chocolate.” The mother tenderly grabs her daughter’s hand and walks her to where the chocolate is. “No, this is chocolate. It’s brown you see.”

The little girl looks up at her mother with a perplexed face, and then at the chocolate. “But it doesn’t taste brown mama, it tastes white.”

The mother asks, “How so, my child?”

Without hesitation the little girl answers, “Well mama, the vanilla has some brown things on top of it that taste brown. It tastes like chocolate, mama.”

The mother giggles. She hadn’t noticed that the vanilla ice cream was in fact not vanilla. It was cookies n’ cream, with drops of chocolate chips here and there and a swirl of what seemed to be coffee. “Yes, it is true vanilla tastes like brown.” The mother points at the chocolate. “So chocolate tastes..”

The mother looks down at her daughter’s beaming face; she waits for her to finish the sentence.

Without missing a cue, she says, “Chocolate tastes white.”