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Part 1

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The door closed with a swish and a clunk that let me know it had actually closed for good. Sometimes the door swished closed, but the catch wouldn’t open into the lock and even a light whiff of air would propel the door wide open allowing the dogs to rush out into the street and jaunt about, giddy and swaggering with their daring.

Mom hunched over the kitchen counter, dicing or slicing, while something sizzled in the big soup pot on the stove.

“You guys have a nice ride?” mom asked without turning around. Lifting up the cutting board with one hand she used the knife to push the cubes of chicken into the pot, encouraging them to move this way or that so none would escape.

Her daughters’ silence prompted her to turn and face their answer, but she found herself lacking one daughter.

“Where’s your sister?” she asked. She didn’t seem concerned, per se, but her brow furrowed in the middle, forcing the sparse hairs of her eyebrows to spread out like the metal rings of a slinky stretching forward.

“She went a different way.” I shrugged.

“Oh.” She turned back to her cooking. If I had cared to notice, I would have seen her movements slow, distracted just a little, waiting to hear the screech of tires and slamming door of her youngest blowing through the door and back at home. I let my helmet drop, clattering to the wood floor and left it spinning.

I walked back to my room. The hot air pounded on my skin when I opened the door. The blinds that usually protected the room from the sun’s rays I had left open all day long. Now the evening sun penetrated the single pane windows and overwhelmed the small space. Slipping off my tennis shoes and kicking them from me to the corner of the room before I plunged onto my bed. I reached out my hand for the book lying next to my pillow and spread it open in front of me and began to read.

As I read the sentences however, I found myself listening for the inevitable sound of my sister’s foot steps creaking on the floorboards of hall outside my room. It was her habit to peer in on me reading and ask if I would come watch something, or do something, generally stop my reading and be with her. And I would sigh, and finish the sentence and slide off the bed, grumbling to have such a sister.

So after each paragraph I paused, hovering over the next words to see if she would come in to get me. Maybe supper was ready. Closing the book and tossing it on the foot of the bed I opened my door and walked to the kitchen. Passing through the living room to the kitchen I looked for my sister, but she wasn’t there.

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