Ice Cream Tears

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There I am, standing, looking at my mom. Her eyes were puffy from crying all night. Ever since Dad left, Mom changed; she was shyer, she was done with love though. She lathered on her creme from Olay in thick globs of white whipped creme, it looked like lard. It just sunk right in. The creme was a way to help get her out of her sorrow, she didn't want to look how she felt. Dead. She wore her sunflower yellow sweat pants and a green corduroy sweater. She didn't feel like a flower, she felt like the mulch after a sunflower withers. She shut down from the world outside of her, her wounds were gaping open.She sat in the backyard, taking in the bursts of sun. I couldn't concentrate on swinging, Mom just sat their on the bench. Brown square glasses adorned her face, mascara ran down her face, but she kept swiping it away, so I wouldn't see the pain Rich caused her.


*
It is August 1998, my cousin Jacob and the family went to Rockford for a camping trip. After everyone got acclimated, my cousins and I, we went to get ice cream. The summer day was sweltering. The birds had no motivation to sing, the tires of the camping vans were frowning from the excessive heat. They were going to collapse with a great ker-plunk at any moment. The ice cream stand with its wooden interior was all swollen and busting at its seams. However, the frosty air conditioning was cool and frothy against my skin. The beads of sweat dissipated in fear from the cold. I ordered my usual snoopy ice cream; his head was vanilla and his ears were chocolate. My cousins ordered cherry snow cones. We trudged along kicking up black dirt clouds, the sun passed right through them. It looked as if the sun were a savior keeping the evil at bay. I thought, maybe that's what Mommy needs. Maybe she'll feel better.

*
After a few minutes of walking, my ice cream started to melt. The cream formed perfect round drops, it cried down my wrist and got crusty. At the camp, Uncle John was fanning himself, Aunt Renee was soaking her feet, and Mom was reading a magazine. It was quiet like a church, as if they wanted to pay their respects. We stumbled into camp, with our heavy feet stomping and waking everyone from their day dreams. Mom, with her groggy, coffee tainted breath helped me clean my ice cream tears. She looked at me and said, "Look at you, you look so silly." I couldn't help but notice that this was the first time she ever smiled.

*
In this photograph, I'm smiling with missing incisors, a forest green sleeveless shirt adorns my small figure. My pudgy cheeks curl up from the smile, closing my eyes. A table is covered with a cloth filled with sunflowers that look like a multitude of eyes. A bulky cell phone with a retractable antennae sits plainly and blatantly on the table. Behind me, my grandfather from Poland sits trying to fit in like a puzzle piece; however, his awkwardness screams out obnoxiously. I'm surrounded by ferocious shrubbery, it's like a prisoner trying to break out from its bonds. Above us, a clear blue sky looks like a floating ocean, the sun drying up any trace of water from mankind. Large boils from mosquito bites cover everyone as if they were popular at the time. I have one thought on my mind, "Why is mommy so unhappy?" I just couldn't think of a good answer, so instead Uncle John came up to me, told me to smile and SNAP! He took a picture.

*
Everyone left for home so abruptly after a week of camping. No one was brave enough to take on the heat,the mosquitoes, or the coyote that invaded camp on more than one occasion. The car ride home was dismal and very frail, a peep would set us in a direction of utter mayhem. There was no tension, simply melancholy. No one could leave their longing behind. No one felt a burning passion, no one felt like the burning fire that warmed us. It was a cold trip despite the heat. The radio played a very dismal song about love and how it can make you hurt. My mom was lathering on her creme again trying to get rid of the garbage bags, as she so put. Her eyes were red and swollen, I looked at her and said, "Mommy we're home."





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