Small Soft Cones


I’m standing in line at the Cranford Frosty Freeze. Just an old fashioned ice cream shack. I’ve got my ‘BADASS’ emblazoned across the butt underwear on. That amuses me to no end. But I feel far from a badass. I feel very lost today. Just trying to satisfy whatever it is that’s lacking. Soft chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles is where I’ll start looking.

I remember coming to this Frosty Freeze a few months after Noah died. I sat on the bench alone with my soft chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles. I was imagining Noah was still sitting next to me. I thought I could wish him back. Or maybe I could just pretend for the rest of my life that my son was simply invisible. He wasn’t dead at all.

We had just moved to Cranford and I was curious to see if I liked it better this time. I’d been once before with Marybeth when we both had dogs. Before husbands. Before kids. We were unimpressed with the chocolate if I remember correctly. Loretta the greyhound, however, gave the cup of vanilla a rave review.  I didn’t go back for a long time. But the chocolate was better this time even though my life was at its saddest.

So I find myself back here now. There were two young Russian guys ordering at the walk-up window in front of me. Their big, black Suburban was the only car in the lot. Every time it seemed they were done with their order of different sundaes slowly piling up on the ledge, they’d remember somebody else or something else they wanted. They kept looking at the flavor list and happily conferring with each other in Russian and then politely say to the girl at the window, “Sorry miss, something else please.” She seemed a little smitten with them. After all, politeness and an accent goes a long way. Remember Hugh Grant?

A sweaty, bedraggled suit and tie guy pulls up and gets out of his car. He gets in line behind me. I feel the stress coming off his body. He is not amused by the Russians and their growing pile of containers. He last about 3 minutes in line, huffs a little, and gets back in his car.

The sky is starting to get dark. I hear a little thunder which at first I thought was a train. The Frosty Freeze is right by the train overpass. But the darker clouds are moving in and I finally get my turn. I smile at the nice girl and we both kind of telepathically laugh over how absurdly large the Russians’ order was. I get my soft chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles. I get back into my car and the rain starts pouring down just as I close the door. The timing could not have been better. Or more dramatic. In fact, the timing was perfect.

I arrived here lost. My secret identity of BADASS was being challenged by something I couldn’t quite describe. But the chocolate tasted good. The Russians were happy. I was happy to stand still and watch it all for a little bit. And the rain came down at the exact right moment.

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