The Last Days of Summer
His brother opens the door to the garage and the two of them sneak outside while their mom is folding laundry. His brother turns on the light and shouts and their mom comes running out and tells them to always wait for her, but she is smiling as she opens the garage door to cool them down. The floor is dusty, and he loves how when his brother moves, he leaves footprints behind him like a snail. He has his miniature kitchen utensils that look like his mom’s, and he pounds them against the ground. His brother gets into his plastic car with the yellow top and red doors. He shouts at his brother as he rolls down the driveway, and his mom runs and grabs the car before it hits the street. He moves through the garage and onto the rough pavement of the driveway to follow them, but his mom picks him up and puts him in the grass that tickles his fingers. He grabs a wood chip from the flowerbed and chews on it until it splinters, and his mom makes him spit it out. His brother runs across the lawn, and they both watch the cars drive by. He loves the way the front yard feels like freedom.
When it starts to rain, their mom moves them into the garage, and he and his brother sit on the lip of the pavement underneath the garage doors and stick their palms out into the rain. The world feels quiet. They watch for a minute before his brother finds some toy cars to play with. He crawls over and tries to take them, but his brother screams and so does he. He loves the way the sound echoes across the room until it sounds loud and big. He crawls to his mom and she picks him up and holds him until he wiggles to be put back down. The rain smells like grass and heat off the pavement, and his brother requests popsicles while they wait for it to pass. His mom gets one out for each of them and the melted syrup runs down his chin and his fingers and stains his skin purple. When his brother opens his mouth, his tongue is red. They both suck on the plastic wrappers until they’re empty and then fill them with air and spit them at each other until their mom stops them.
When the rain stops, he throws his ball down the driveway, and his brother runs to get it. He hands it back to him and tells him to be careful. When his brother says this, he wrinkles his forehead the same way that their mom does. He abandons the ball and crawls to towards his mom’s car. He digs his fingers into the treads and pulls himself up to standing. His mom claps and his brother tries to get him to walk, but when he lets go he falls. The pavement feels hot and wet and little rocks cling to his knees. His brother wants to ride his bike and his mom agrees, so they go for a walk around the neighborhood. His brother is on his bike and he is in the stroller. Their mom takes them around the lake, and they watch as the birds fly away whenever they get too close. His brother shouts at the turtles and they both listen for the slap of their bodies against the water as they move off the bank. It’s summer and his fingers taste salty and when they get back home, the three of them lay down on the cool tile and close their eyes and breathe.