My mom doesn’t believe in drinking water from the tap, gasping in horror whenever she witnesses me filling a glass at the sink. Nor does she bother with Brita filters. They just take up too much space in her already cluttered refrigerator. Instead, my mom keeps a ready stash of bottled water, lining the shelves of the pantry and storing additional cases in the garage.
A few years ago during one of my early visits to Florida, with the entire family present to celebrate my dad’s birthday, the water situation exploded.
“Girls, can you come in here?” my mom asked, her voice loud enough to fill the entire house.
Leslie and I dropped what we were doing and hesitantly went into the kitchen.
“Is this yours?” my mom asked holding up a half-finished bottle of water.
I shrugged and looked at Leslie who was also silently offering a non-committal answer.
“How about this one? And this one and this one and this one?” My mother, by now, had five half-finished bottles of water pinned between her folded arms and her chest.
“Sorry,” Leslie and I said in chorus before backing out of the kitchen and fleeing the scene.
Later that night, over dinner, my mother made an announcement. “From this point forward, if you take a bottle of water, you will use this to write your name on the label.” She held up a large permanent marker and moved her arm slowly back and forth so everyone could see the pen. The water issue was resolved.
In early April, I ventured south for some family fun. Leslie was taking the kids to Florida for their spring break and I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to spend five nights sharing a bed with my favorite sister, revisiting the olden days of slumber parties and late night giggle fits.
After a long day of sunning by the pool, we went to dinner at Columbia. I enjoyed savory pork and sweet plantains, washing it all down with copious amounts of sangria. Three hours after the meal I was sprawled out on the bed, my jeans unbuttoned and my mouth smacking for water. I rolled onto my side to face Leslie who was reading a magazine.
Leslie flipped the page and focused on the article. I tried another approach.
“If you loved me, you’d get me some water.”
Leslie closed the magazine, hoisted herself to her feet and shuffled down the hall to the kitchen. A few seconds later, she plopped down on the bed and passed off a fresh bottle of water.
“You’re the best sister ever,” I squealed as I unscrewed the cap and chugged.
“Oh, and per house rules,” Leslie started as she flipped through her magazine. “I wrote your name on the label.”