Georgia Bolender
Lemonade

Jeannette, I chortled, It’s a damn beautiful day, isn’t it?

Ha ha! she laughed, and her mouth made a huge red gash in her tiny face. The deck chairs were hot like metal. I let the lemonade jab my tongue and life was damn great. Life was just damn great. The sun was not shining, but it was not going to rain, I couldn’t smell any rain, so damn the rain. I laughed again spontaneously and the lemonade spilled.

Let’s see the world, Jeannette, I said frantically. Let’s see the world and go everywhere and conquer things.

Oh, Jason, she said, grinning so fiercely I thought her eyes would pop out and roll all over the textured green deck. Suddenly I saw her blood pumping under her skin. It was blue and ugly.

Oh, Jason, I mocked sharply, beginning to lose face. Is that all you have to say, Jeannette?! I told you we could go conquer the world and all you have to say is oh, Jason?!

Jason! She cried, grinning so very falsely under her wide, wide eyes and touching her neck with her gloved fingers. I would like nothing better than to dash all over the world just conquering things! Is that better?

Yes, Jeannette, yes, so much better. How’s the lemonade?

Like acid.

Great. Damn great.

We had bought so many bright yellow lemons and got on a boat and went out to the middle of the lake so they couldn’t find us and that's all we did all day was make lemonade and only talk about lemonade and how beautiful life was and drink the lemonade we made. The lemonade was so tart it burnt our insides but that’s how we wanted it. We made it so sour that we could feel it in our toes. It would shock us through and we would keep drinking it until our bodies were phosphorescent. We’ll light up the whole damn lake tonight, I said. We’ll shimmer all over the surface in every direction, flat sour-white flames lighting up the whole damn sky.

The lake seemed to go out for miles in all directions. The lake and the trees were ablaze with shocks of intense greens and blues. The water was clear, like a pocket of earth saliva. The clearness went down, down to the bottom where the monstrous beasts of the lake were waiting to swallow us whole, and there the water was murky wet layers of black. Follow the black water up to the horizon and it goes all the way up to the white sky where the birds are swarming and beating their wings like lunatics in the smell of the weeds, a sour wet smell.

The boat smacked the little wave currents and its nose bowed up and down. I turned to Jeannette and grinned feverishly. She beamed back, sucking the bitter lemonade through a straw and just grinning like life was never better. It wasn't ever better, I thought while I swallowed and swallowed that damn lemonade. Never better.