I hate lemonade.
I hear my name being called over and over again. Two nurses and a doctor are desperately looking for me everywhere; their shouts get louder and I can tell that they are becoming aggravated. I don’t care. I hope they never find me. My friends are telling me I need to hide, or else they are going to hurt me again. I see Dr. Schmidt’s shoes walk pass my door. He has passed by several times now, and I know it's only a matter of time.
Finally, I see his black oxford’s stop in my doorway; they are well polished and the light from my lamp is reflecting off of them. At this point I already know they are going to give me extra treatments today. They always give me extra treatments when I'm bad.
“Freeze”, I think, “Don’t move a muscle”. He starts walking towards me, I can now see the pleats on his brown pant leg. “Don’t breathe”, I think, “Don’t make a sound.”
At this point I know he has found me, but part of me is still holding on to the idea that ‘If I can’t fully see him, he can’t see me either’. Unfortunately, this hope didn’t last for much more than thirty seconds, as he began to crouch down, and our eyes met through the crack under my bed. I’m in big trouble. My friends tell me to resist him, maybe if I struggle enough he will give up and leave me alone. Dr. Schmidt looks me dead in the eyes.
“Alice, will you please come out from under the bed, it’s time for your treatment?” I shake my head side to side as I become nauseated by the smell of his cologne. My friends tell me to refuse treatment. “Treatment is bad” they tell me. Dr. Schmidt is only being polite to me because he wants to trick me. Dr. Schmidt doesn’t like my friends.
“NURSE!”, he eventually screams”. Two women in white aprons appear in the doorway. They have come to take me away. As the two women drag me out from under the bed, I make sure to put up a fight, kicking and screaming. I feel the cold tile floor slide beneath my skin.
My friends tell me, “Fight harder!”
I do, but it’s not enough. The nurses carry me, kicking and screaming, to the treatment room, they strap me onto the table; they aren't giving me lemonade today. I can hear my favorite song, ‘Here in My Heart’ by Al Martino playing quietly in the background as they put the mask over my face. It all goes dark.
I wake up with a massive headache; I feel as though a flash of lightning has struck my brain. One of the nurses greet me, “hello, how do you feel?” She is a very pretty woman and is flashing a huge fake smile at me. She’s in her mid twenties and wears ruby red lipstick. She is also wearing ‘Soir de Paris’ perfume, I know because I can smell it, it was my mom’s favorite.
I miss my mother, it has been about a month since I’ve seen her. My family tries to visit me every once in awhile, but I know it is hard for them to leave the farm unattended for so long. It takes them roughly two hours to get to the hospital when Father drives his new lemon-yellow cadillac. I do wish they would visit me more, I get angry when they don’t. Actually, I just want them to let me come back home. My mother tells me that I’m sick and I need help, but I don’t feel like I’m sick. She tells me about all these terrible things I say or do, but I don’t remember any of it; sometimes I think she may be making it all up just to get rid of me. My father… well, he doesn’t say much to me at all.
“My head hurts,” I tell the woman. My friends are ignoring me again. They always ignore me after treatment. My doctor says that is good, but I’m not so sure. It’s hard to be the youngest woman in the hospital. None of the older women want to be friends with a fourteen year old. I don't have friends at school either, they all think I'm bats.
It's dinner time. They give me lemonade with my meal, but it's not really lemonade at all, it's just sugar water and lemon. This unsettles me because they almost always give me lemonade before treatment. The lemonade smells uncanningly tart and I can see little chunks of sugar that have not yet dissolved in the water. When I drink lemonade I feel the pain associated with treatment flow down my throat and drop into the pit of my stomach. But, I drink it anyways, because I know it may be one of the last sweet things I’ll ever taste. There’s been many women who never came back from treatment, and I know the last thing they drank was lemonade.