I turned into the kitchen doorway and looked on as mom stirred the pot of soup on the stove.
“Mom, when’s dinner?” I asked.
“Soon.” She replied. “Would you get your sister? It’s her turn to set the table.”
I stared at mom, my own brows furrowed, eyebrow hairs striking, as I looked at her in confusion.
“I haven’t seen her.” I said.
“What?” Mom’s voice pierced through the steam in front of her.
“I haven’t seen her since she took the other way home on her bike.” I tried to let the confession roll off my shoulders, already preparing my defense.
“Well, wasn’t she right behind you?” Mom had turned fully around now, staring me down.
“Yeah. She just went around the other side, by Creston.” I said. My shoulders shrugged with unconscious discomfort, pressing against the door frame.
“And she isn’t back yet?” The sharpness of Mom’s voice intensified. She looked worried now.
“I’m sure she’ll be back any minute, Mom. She probably just wanted to go down the hill a few more times.”
“Well, then maybe you should go get her?” the register of mom’s voice lowered. I could tell she was dialing it down in her head, talking herself down, trying to calm down, but I didn’t know from what. What could happen?
“Uhhh.” I groaned. “Fine.”
Dragging my feet all the way to my room, I expected to hear my sister to come running in, feet pounding, breath airy and windblown by the time I slipped on my shoes. As I sat down on the floor beside my shoes, waiting to hear her voice asking mom the same dinner questions I had. She would probably get back right as I finished tying the laces on my shoes, I thought. But I finished tying them and heard nothing, even after the double knot was pulled tight.
Pushing myself up from the ground I walked back to the entry, swinging my helmet up from the floor.I opened the front door and called over my shoulder to mom.
“We’ll be right back.” I shouted carelessly before slamming the door behind me.
I hopped down the steps. Nope. No second bicycle standing beside mine in the drive. She definitely wasn’t back yet. Neither of us ever put our bicycles away. Even at night, preferring to leave them out, ready to ride from the front door, or the top of the driveway where one time we left them out for a full week, untouched.
I spun my handle bars around and peddled slowly up the small slope of the drive. I turned right, further down the hill where she would most likely come from had she gone down the hill again. The wind from my peddling pushed most of my hair back from my face, but as always a hair or two stubbornly clung to my eyelashes making me blink in frustration.
A sharp left would carry me to the bottom of the hill she had gone down, so I curved gracefully, turning to the base of that steep, steep hill. As my front wheel turned it carried me too fast up on something, jittering to a halt as I slowly crashed into the back wheel of my sister’s bicycle crumpled and empty in the middle of the street.
I hopped off the seat of my own bike, staring down at it. There was nothing else to look at. All the houses were the same as before. The lawns were green with dry patches, the blinds closed to shut out the sun.