Yesterday a person I’ve never met tore out my heart and nailed it to the wall. I had no way to change the situation, so I decided to process the pain by writing a story about it.
Here is The Lemonade Stand. The names, and events, have been changed to protect the innocent.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Sammie who really wanted a dog. Really, really wanted a dog.
Her parents never understood where this love of dogs came from, since Sammie had rarely been around any dogs. Sure, there was the neighbor’s poodle, Fluffy. But Fluffy had a tendency to bite, so Sammie was kept well away from the little beast.
But Sammie loved dogs nonetheless. Her first word was dog, her favorite stuffed animal was a Huskie, and when she played with dolls, she pretended that they crawled around on all fours growling and barking.
So when Sammie turned 12 her parents made a deal with her. Since their main gripe about pet ownership had been the cost, they agreed to let Sammie have a dog if she footed all the bills.
Summer had just started so Sammie agreed enthusiastically and started right away to earn the cash. She spent the first week building a stylish little lemonade stand, and then decorated it with a red and white striped awning she had sewn herself. The wooden part of the stand she painted white, and then livened it up with bright yellow lemons. The stand had only cost her the price of the fabric for the awning, since her dad had allowed her to use whatever materials she could find in the backyard shed.
She then moved to the next stage. With the little bit of money she had left over from her last birthday she bought the ingredients she would need for her lemonade. She experimented with several mini batches until she had the perfect recipe. It was time to go into business.
The next day she sat up her stand in front of her house, and was thrilled with the success of her enterprise. Customers came, paid, drank, and then came again. Weeks went by and it became clear that Sammie’s lemonade stand was a success. Every night Sammie counted up her earnings and dreamed of the day she could go to the shelter and claim Pepper, the cute little Schnoodle she had seen there, as her own pet.
July rolled around and Sammie felt sure she would soon reach her goal. As she looked up and down the street to see if any of her regular customers were around she noticed a teenage girl watching her from the distance. After a few minutes of inaction, the girl walked over to Sammie.
“So, how’s business?”
“It’s good,” Sammie replied. “Would you like some lemonade?”
“I might,” the girl said slowly, “but what I think I really would like is to help you out.”
“Sure! I have lots and lots of friends. You give me a couple glasses of lemonade today, and I’ll tell all my friends how great it is. You’ll have so much business you won’t know what to do.”
“Well, I don’t know….”
“Come on, you’ve got nothing to lose but a little lemonade.”
“I don’t understand why you want to help me. What’s in it for you?”
“I like to help people,” the girl said with a shrug. “And besides, I’m thirsty and I don’t have any money with me.”
Sammie thought a moment, and then decided that the girl was right. She could afford to give away a little of her lemonade if it meant she would get new customers. She filled up the biggest glass she had and gave it to the girl. The girl drank it down, gave a satisfied smile, and waved goodbye.
The next morning, Sammie skipped out of the house, a pitcher in each hand, ready for another successful day of money-making. The pitchers crashed to the ground and shattered, lemonade soaking her from the knees down, as her eyes were assaulted by the sight before her. Instead of a lemonade stand there were small pieces of red and white fabric stuck in bushes and trees, and piles of yellow and white sticks carefully laid out to spell “YOU STINK”.
Heartbroken, Sammie sat down on the sidewalk and cried. All her hard work–gone. How could she earn enough money for that cute little Schnoodle without a stand? And she needed to hurry, because Pepper was one of the cutest dogs in the pound. If she didn’t adopt her soon, someone else probably would.
Out of the corner of her eye Sammie saw a piece of paper stuck under the sticks that made up the letter “S”. With a shaky hand she reached out and gently pulled it to her. Turning it over she read:
This will teach you to trust strangers. I hate you, I hate all you stupid kids that think you can just put up a lemonade stand whenever you want a little pocket change. I would never help you sell your stinky lemonade. If you want to make money get a real job.
Sammie crumpled up the note and shoved it into her pocket. She looked up and down the street but there was no one in sight.
“I’ll show her!” Sammie muttered as anger replaced sadness. “I don’t know what would make a person be so mean–to destroy just because she can–but I won’t let her stop me. I built that stand once, and I can do it again!”
Sammie jumped up and energetically began to gather up the remnants of her lemonade stand. She had no time to lose. After she piled the mess in the backyard she ran over to the shed and jerked open the door. There were still quite a few pieces of unused wood, and an entire can of white paint. She could rebuild. She would rebuild.
And so, just a few days after a mean spirited bully took it upon herself to try to destroy the dreams of one girl, the lemonade stand was back in business.
And Sammie, well Sammie was more determined than ever. And a little wiser.