Lemonade

petals

We’re a long way from those ornamental summers, when tourists paid a nickel for a Dixie cup of lemonade, their eyes sneaking glances at our overturned bicycles and the spilled sugar on the pavement. They wore fine linen suits or tacky Hawaiian shirts, construction socks stuffed into brown sandals. We wore T-shirts with holes around the neck and thrift-store shorts, baggy and overbleached, pockets filled with pennies and Dubble Bubble, and they thought we were charming, or quaint, or white trash, whatever made them feel better. Some took Polaroids, some left a dime and didn’t ask for change, some wanted to know how to get back to the Interstate, away from the dullness and our cliché movie-of-the-week drawls, and we drew maps for them on foolscap, with flourished arrows pointing to the Best Western. Ya’ll be safe, we said, and giggled, because there was no safe place that we knew of, other than the sidewalk, dispensing lemonade in semi-clean cups. Now, we settle on the porch every August, and watch the children rumble down the street with firmer destinations, and we listen to the wind pull on the tin roof of the house next door. We drink lemonade from our Bottom Dollar tumblers, generous with the vodka, and there are no more tourists to take Polaroids. We lost our quaintness some time ago.

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