Turning 30, Chapter 10

Cera and Lavena brought Tadd to an ice cream parlor. It had colorful, stripped walls, and the floor had a few squares strategically placed throughout the shop. A cashier shined the glass above the do-it-yourself fixins station. Cera, Lavena, and Tadd are the only ones in the shop besides Michael and Hannah. There wasn’t any question who their mother was because they both inherited Lavena’s red hair. The kids zoomed across the store, clearly running off the excess energy brought on by the sugar. Lavena filmed them with her phone. “I’m sending a snap to Ashlynn to show her how well things are going.”

Cera commented ruefully, “I don’t think we’re doing a good job planning his party!”

Lavena told her, “Hey, he had a tantrum-free afternoon. We made a little progress. We gotta get him past this first stage.”

“Ice cream with girlfriends helped me accept my first heartbreak,” Cera stated. “Why isn’t this working?”

Lavena wisely explained, “He can’t get past the first stage-denial. You know, that’s where you’re a big, emotional mess and the whole thing doesn’t seem real. Then there’s anger, which has to be released to feel like you got it out of your system. Sometimes this stage lands people in court or jail. Then you’ve got the stage where you try to replace the feelings you’ve just lost-rebound. Women go to ice cream shops and men go to strip clubs, and you gotta stick with your buddies either way to make sure they don’t do anything crazy. Then there’s the actual grief, where you’re depressed. Out of bed, not crazy, but you know your life will never be the same. When you catch yourself checking out new people and your friends approve of your potential mate, you’re ready to move on.”

Cera nodded in understanding. “It didn’t take me long to get over my ex dumping me. Our parents arranged our courtship, but he wanted something I didn’t. Now that I want it, he lives in Canada. Darn it.” She sighed.

Lavena pointed out, “It’s easier to go through the five steps if you aren’t really in love. The stronger you felt, the harder it is. You got over it in an afternoon ’cause you lied the idea of having a boyfriend more than the actual boyfriend. Getting over my ex was hard, but I didn’t have a choice but to move on quick ’cause I had two people that depended on me. Plus, my love for my kids is stronger than my feelings for…Michael! Hannah! Calm down!” Hannah came running over to their table and stopped but carried a mischievous grin. Michael, however, ran in circles around the table. “Michael, come to the table.”

Michael defiantly told her, “I am at the table!”

She argued, “Then stop running!”

He defied her with, “I can’t! I’m a turtle!”

Lavena rubbed her head in frustration. “Turtles are slow!”

“You’re slow!” he laughed.

Lavena gave up. “Being a single mom is a beautiful curse.”

Cera smiled sympathetically. She decided to give Tadd some attention. “Tadd, you should eat your ice cream before it melts.”

He tried to take a bite, but because it had sat for so long, the part he scooped looked like soup in his spoon. “It’s already melting! I can’t do anything right!”

He put his head on the table, face first, in defeat. Cera pat his back. At this moment, someone walked into the shop. It was a man who may have been handsome if it weren’t for his sleazy smile and overuse of oil in his hair. He was about to order something he saw Lavena. Lavena cringed as he walked over to their table. He overtly checked her out as he spoke, “Hey baby! Whatcha doin’ tonight?”

“Not you!” Lavena retorted.

He looked surprised at her icy response. He made another feeble attempt. “Well, hen you finish that ice cream, feel free to come to my place for dessert!”

Before Lavena could give a nasty reply, Hannah piped in, “Oh boy! What kind of dessert? Do you have candy?”

Lavena reprimanded her, “Hannah! Do not take candy from strangers!”

Cera pointed out, “I don’t think he’s actually talking about that kind of-”

“I know!” Lavena snapped. She turned to the greasy man. “Beat it, scum bucket!” He tried not to show his hurt feelings as he left. Lavena sighed, “Do I have a magnet for sleazy men? No matter where I go, they find me!”

Cera remarked, “Give me that magnet!”

“Look, Cera,” Lavena responded, “I’m all for you losing your virginity with a quick fling, but don’t do it with just anyone!”

Cera whined, “But I may never get the chance! The only place I meet guys is at church, and all they do is propose to me! It’s so annoying!”

Lavena gave her a look of jealousy and awe. “I feel so bad for you.”

Cera suggested, “Come to my church and you’ll find a husband!”

Lavena turned down that invitation. “Right, nothing wrong with a Jewish girl attending service for another religion just to meet men!”

Before Cera could respond, they both noticed that this whole time Tadd had been shaping his remaining ice cream into a heart. He saw them paying attention to him. “Watch what she did to my heart!” He furiously stirred his ice cream until it is totally destroyed. Even Micahel and Hannah watched him because it was so odd. Lavena took a picture of this on Snapchat, but other than that, no one knew how to react.

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