“Do you have any lemons?” asked Victoria reading one of the popular women’s magazines.
“Lemons? In the middle of Russian winter? What do you need lemons for?” I wondered.
“Not me, but you. You always were more adventurous. Let’s trial this on you first.”
“Me? Trial what?”
“The best beautifying detox treatment”
“Beautifying you say? Then you need milk not lemons.”
“Don’t you remember – Cleopatra used to beautify herself by bathing in milk. I wonder what my folks will think if they spot me in a bathtub full of milk,” I giggled.
“No, no. Milk is out of fashion now. Besides, how are you going to get so much milk to your bathtub, without even mentioning the cost? Lemons are the way to go now … and apple vinegar,” said Victoria with authority in her voice.
“So are you expecting me to bathe in a bathtub full of apple vinegar juggling lemons?” I laughed.
“No, no. You don’t need a bathtub at all – you can stay in bed watching TV.”
“That sounds better. What about lemons and vinegar?”
“It is very simple – we’ll get you wrapped in a sheet soaked in vinegar, then will cover you with lots of warm blankets. You’ll need to stay like that for a few hours drinking a cup of hot lemon drink every ten minutes. I’ll get the drinks ready for you.”
“You must be joking! Where did you get these crazy ideas from?” I laughed.
“Not crazy at all. Look at this article – all Hollywood stars are doing that.”
“They must be growing lots of lemons in Hollywood then!”
“Come on. You try that first and then I’ll have a go,” said Victoria.
I completely forgot about this conversation, when Victoria came to my place with a bag of lemons.
“Look, I’ve spent all my monthly income on these lemons. You surely can’t say no to such sacrifice. No one else is at home – perfect timing. You go first. Where do you have spare sheets?”
“That’s not my cup of tea, Victoria,” I tried to object.
“What tea? You won’t be getting any tea – only lemon drinks. Come on, it won’t take long – only a few hours.”
Ignoring my objections, Victoria pulled out an old sheet and soaked it in apple vinegar. Five minutes later I was all naked, wrapped in the stinky wet sheet, trying to warm up under a pile of blankets. Victoria turned the TV on.
“Enjoy while I get the first lemon drink ready,” she said disappearing in the kitchen.
“Enjoy! Do you really think it is enjoyable to be wrapped in that stinky sheet?” I shouted to her.
“Beauty requires sacrifices,” responded Victoria with authority in her voice, bringing me the first cup of hot lemon drink.
Lemon drink was nice and it did help me to warm up a bit. The second drink was OK. After the third cup I had enough.
“Look, I had enough of these lemon drinks.”
“Beauty requires sacrifices,” repeated Victoria. “Still 10 more cups to go”.
“Ten more cups!!!”
“Yep, wait here, I’ll make another cup of lemon drink,” she said disappearing in the kitchen.
After three more cups I could not tolerate this any longer.
“Victoria, I can’t drink it anymore. I’m bursting.”
“Hm, that’s a bit of a problem. This article does not say anything about that. You’ve done one hour only. You need to wait for another hour. Beauty requires sacrifices,” she said disappearing in the kitchen.
After three more cups I could not wait any longer. As soon as Victoria disappeared in the kitchen to make another cup of lemon drink, I jumped out of bed and, still wrapped in the wet sheet, rushed into the hall to get to the toilet.
To my horror, right at that moment the front door flew open and my brother came in with all his mates from engineering Uni. Without a word, I dashed past them into the bathroom and locked the door. A few minutes later the whole flat burst with roaring laughter: the lads discovered the copy of the women’s magazine with that ‘beautifying’ article….
That night dad joined us for dinner.
“You look particularly beautiful tonight,” he said to me with a wink, “Would you like another lemon?” he asked, taking a lemon out of his pocket…
I could not stand lemons for the rest of the year and women’s magazines – for the rest of my life after that day.