“Oh these thumbprints are just to DAY FOUR.”

There’s nothing quite like a little quiet time with a little book to bring you back to your little self. This, of course, would preferably occur in a little coffee shop.

That is precisely where I found myself tonight, just before 9 o’clock.

Day Four being banana day, I graciously slurped down banana slices in a big, fat mug of milk for dinner. It may have been the most satisfying meal so far, and truly, just what I wanted.

Needing to get out of the house after, I packed up a book and headed to this kitschy little coffee place called Mocha Madness where someone was shot last fall. It was 9, they closed at 10, and I was walking in as the other patrons were leaving. Alone with Coffee Guy, I got myself a black Roast of Whatever,  found a corner and nestled in with a borrowed copy of “Slaughterhouse Five.”

When my mind started drifting, it went straight to the food I couldn’t have. More specifically: cookies.

My favorite type is thumbprint cookies from this place called Carol’s Pastry Shop in my hometown, Zelienople, PA. Carol’s makes ridiculously amazing things overall, but those thumbprint cookies are a memory lapse and a delicious treat all in one.

They are the definitive cookie of my childhood. One bite and I’m sticky-fingered again, nose scrunched up against the glass of Carol’s pastry case, picking out which color I like best. Buckled in behind my dad in his hatchback Saab, brushing the scraggly hair out of my face, I get to sneak “just one” on the ride home.

Or I’m 18, all-too headstrong and naive, sitting at my mom’s kitchen table listening to her and my begrudging little brother sing me “Happy Birthday.” A pile of Christmas-colored thumbprints sits on a Styrofoam plate in front of me, one lit candle stuck in the gob of butter cream in the one on top. At an age when I would have given anything to be anywhere else, I blew out the little flame thinking how I wouldn’t trade any trip for the times when it was just the three of us.

So tonight, empty banana-milk-mug staring at me as I type, I’m thinking of myself unstuck in time. And 18-year-old me would never admit this, but if I could choose one place to go, I’d be back at home on the couch with a book — a lit fireplace and a Styrofoam plate of thumbprints not far out of reach.

+++++++++++++++++++++

[OH. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. will return in tomorrow’s post. Scout’s honor.]

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