When I was growing up, I lived next to the Rosales family for 20 years. Mr. Rosales was a police officer who used to capture or kill our cats and bully my mom over everything while wearing his police uniform. Mrs. Rosales used to lecture my mom over the back fence over the perils of letting me wear pants as a young lady. Their daughter Jenny used to damn my soul to eternal damnation for being a pagan Catholic who worshipped false idols. Our family really couldn’t stand the Rosales family, but my brother and I were forced to play nice with their children.
For years I listened to my mom rant and rave about how much she despised everything Rosales. I hate their boat because it blocks my view of the mountain. Mike Rosales is a nerd because he mows the lawn in polyester pants. Cristina Rosales is such a bitch because she looks in my kitchen window and criticized me for being a single mother. Jenny Rosales is nosey and is always peeking over the fence in the backyard. My mom abhorred everything about the Rosales family. Over the years they grew to irritate me, too.
One day Mr. Rosales began to bully my mom because as she was watering her roses, she accidentally sprayed the side of his boat. He ranted and raved about how she didn’t respect his belongings, loud enough for other neighbors to come out. Mrs. Rosales came out and joined the ranting. The next day, Mr. Rosales came over to our house in his police uniform and said that he was going to file a vandalism charge on my mom for wetting his boat. That was the day that I declared war on the Rosales family in my head.
A couple of weeks later, my mother was unfortunately in a serious car accident that landed her in the hospital for months. My father, unbeknownst to the drama between my mom and the Rosales family, asked Mrs. Rosales to babysit for me for a few weeks until my mom was discharged from the hospital. Mrs. Rosales happily obliged probably just so that she had plenty of time to talk about how my mom was in the hospital precisely because God was punishing her for being a Catholic. Every day I plotted and planned about how I could get back at her for being so mean.
One day Jenny and I went into the backyard to get ready to go swimming. As I jumped into the pool, I saw Mrs. Rosales place a few large glasses of lemonade on the table for herself as well as the children. It was then that my mind began to plot and plan until I finally decided that one way or another I was going to pee in Mrs. Rosales’ yellow lemonade. A filthy drink for a filthy mouth, I rationalized.
As soon as I saw that she went into the house, I grabbed her drink and ran into the poolroom bathroom. I squatted and peed quickly. Suddenly I looked up to see Jenny staring intently at me. “What are you doing? Why are you peeing in my mom’s lemonade?” she asked. I stared at her in horror. “Are you mad at my mom for some reason?”
“Yes, your mom said God is punishing my mom for being a Catholic. My mom said she doesn’t like her because she isn’t married. I’m wanted to wash her mouth out,” I answered. I was scared to death.
Jenny said, “I’m mad at my mom, too. She won’t let me play tetherball all week. Can you give me that glass ?” And then she squatted and splashed a little pee in it. “We need to add a little lemonade so that she doesn’t smell it,” she said, and took the glass outside and into the kitchen.
Jenny went into the kitchen and came back with the glass in her hand. “Mom, I put some ice cubes in your lemonade to make it extra cold,” she explained. And she looked at me out of the corner of her eye as she placed the lemonade on the table.
Jenny and I sat in the hot summer sun for what appeared like hours before her mom picked up that glass to take a sip. We smiled slyly at one another as the glass touched her lips. All day long we watched Mrs. Rossi nurse that drink and with each sip I waited for thunder and lighting to descend from the sky, but damnation never came.
That was the summer that I stopped hating Jenny Rosales so much and when we became pee lemonade sisters for life. In fact, we perfected the art of pee lemonade and gave it to all of the other neighborhood kids that we despised for years until we tried to unsuccessfully perfect the art of shit candy bars . Ah, childhood.