Amy sees me looking at her and gives me a wave; I wiggle my fingers in the air and go back to reading my book. The people in the book are on a serious hike; well they are not people – not human anyway. One of them is almost human, but he has powers. They struggle to stay on a path through a forest so thick the sun does not shine there. The path is seldom used and is hard to keep track of. Thick spider webs cross the path and sometimes they see giant insect eyes staring at them from the darkness on each side of the path. As they get tired and hungry my stomach growls and it takes an effort just to turn the next page. One of the fat short people like beings falls into a stream and almost drowns before they can get him back to shore but now all he wants to do is sleep, now I’m tired, hungry, and sleepy. I feel a soft tickly slide across my cheek and swat it away, thinking of a giant furry black spider.
“Ouch!” Amy says, much louder then even the level of noise allowed in the children’s section.
“Sorry, I thought you were a giant spider.”
“You ready to go home?” she asks while rubbing her cheek where my hand pushed her hand. I want to ask her why she was hitting herself but I don’t.
“Sure, I’m going to check this out,” I show her my book and climb up from the floor. The doors to the outside are smoked glass and make the day look cool and shady but as soon as we step outside the bright sun and summer heat hits us. At first the warmth feels good after the cold air-conditioned air in the library but in just a few minutes we are looking for shaded places to walk in. We end up walking in the grass between the sidewalk and the street, going around huge tree trunks every forty feet. Sometimes we take an extra trip around an especially nice tree. Amy walks behind me trying to pace me step for step, her legs are pretty short but she’s having fun back there. I can hear her giggle every once in a while. I have no idea why. She’s not bad for a little sister. We don’t see much of each other. I start taking really long steps and she sees what I’m trying to do right away and just giggles some more. I take to the sidewalk and start to run. I can hear her falling behind.
“Jimmy!” she yells. She knows I won’t leave her behind, it’s just part of the game. I slow down a little, let her catch up, and then shift it back into high gear.
“Jimmy!” something in her tone strikes me as funny and I lean against a tree laughing until she gets close and then I take off again. By the time we reach home we are both breathing hard. I let the back yard screen door slam behind us to announce our arrival as we both head for the kitchen for some water.
My mother stands by the kitchen sink, where she spends most of her time, “Sit down at the table,” she instructs us as she pours us each a glass of cool water. “Show me your books.” She tells me she read my book when she was in high school and reads one of Amy’s books to her while we drink our water. She gives each character a different voice and puts a lot of emotion into it making it much more interesting than it would be if she just read the words plainly.
As we get up from the table and start to walk out of the kitchen I can’t help myself I turn and say, “thanks for cleaning my room mom.” It’s a nice thing to say but she doesn’t take it that way. She just gives me a fake, disgusted look.