How to Marry Your Frenemy - London Casey
(a very young Callie - age 12)
I’m twelve years old, and I have a lemonade stand.
Don’t go aw on me about it just yet. This isn’t me trying to pave the path for entrepreneurship or anything like that. I’m selling lemonade by the glass so I can help Mom cover the rent. And I mean that literally.
I did some research around the apartment building and found the busiest sidewalk. The more foot traffic, the more chances of selling a glass or two.
It also didn’t hurt that I fit the whole beautiful young girl description.
Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Big smile.
I ran the numbers through my head a few times and to make it work, it was going to be tricky. But I had a plan in place.
Down at the corner store, Mr. Enkly had no problem giving me free plastic cups. He asked me to return as many as I could.
Even if I went back with none, he’d still give me more.
His cost of lemonade mix was higher than the grocery store, but my bicycle had a bent front wheel - thanks to that asshole Barry next door.
He’s the drunk in the building.
And he ran over the front wheel of my bicycle and told me I shouldn’t have parked it on the sidewalk.
I hate that guy.
I hope for his sake he gets caught before he hurts someone.
But anyway, without going to the grocery store, my margins were tough.
So I offered to help Mr. Enkly at the shop in exchange for lemonade mix.
He always says he can’t pay me, so I’ll take anything I can get.
The point I’m making is that with a plan, there’s a chance to do anything in life.
There’s three days left in the month.
Of course, a week ago was when Jett decided to… well, jet.
I never liked that guy.
Mom couldn’t see past his smile, earrings, and feathered hair a la Bon freaking Jovi. This guy looked like he walked off the set of a music video in freaking nineteen-eighty-six.
Like, come on, dude, right?
He was no good. Ever.
When he lost his job, he just sat around the apartment and mooched off Mom.
When they argued, he yelled until he got his way, always using me as some kind of bargaining chip.
Mom never wanted me to hear the arguments. So she would cave to him.
Jett wasn’t the first either.
If you had the appeal of some loser dude with a motorcycle and a decent hairline, had dirty blonde hair and big promises, chances were Mom was going to fall for you.
So it’s been up to me since day one to take care of her.
I scooped her ice cream when she cried.
Then frigging Frank showed up.
He smells like cigar smoke and meatballs, wears nice jewelry but crappy clothes.
I hate him too.
I have a lot of hate for men, considering my age, and I’m well aware this could end up being an issue later in life.
But I tell myself by then I’ll have a good career, tons of money, and a therapist to help patch up these mental wounds.
For now, I just want to have a bedroom come the first of the month.
My lemonade stand is in full swing and it’s working.
I’m selling cup after cup.
Even that asshole Barry buys a cup from me.
Of course he looks down at me and smiles with his yellow teeth and says, “Hey, kid, got any vodka to put in this?” then laughs his way to his car.
I wait until he’s out of sight before I lifted my middle finger like a sword.
I feel powerful waving that finger around.
Mom hates that finger. And she hates that I curse.
So I keep that stuff cool.
To me, what does it matter? I’ve seen a lot, been through a lot, and I’ve already gotten my period. They all tell me I’m becoming a woman, so what’s the difference if I call someone acting like an asshole an asshole?
I’m keeping my money safe.
I’m tracking every penny.
Then I hear a voice behind me.
I looked back and there’s Mom out on the stoop of the building with Frank in her face.
He’s smacking the back of his left hand to the palm of his right hand.
He wants money.
It’s not even the first of the month, you goddamn fool… leave my mother alone.
I get pissed easily.
That’s something else I’ll work on in therapy years from now.
After the asshole Barry’s sale, my lemonade stand runs dry.
I have plenty of lemonade but no customers.
I need a new location.
This is going to be a pain to move.