In the Backyard

December 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

When the three of us were children, we had bicycles and umbrellas in our toy box. We had the dirt lot in the back of the house where we’d pray for rain at night so that in the morning, there would be clay. My mother made my birthday cake out of mud and after song, we turned it over into the ground and it became soil again.

In the summer, the air slithered up from the pavement. We had one bicycle between the four of us, with my sister crouched in the basket just beyond the handlebars, my brother and I sharing the wiry seat above the rear wheel, and my mother peddling hard with the kick stand digging its claw into the dirt. But I could still feel the warm wind running her fingers through my hair. Our eyes watered we were moving so fast.

The umbrellas came out in the fall. The three of us would sit on the doorstep and watch as my mother let each one open. She would disappear behind the circular canopy and suddenly, the thing would spin, first slowly and then so fast that all of the colors would smear together. We used to sit on our hands and hold our breaths until that part came, and then we would burst out with high-pitched laughter.

No one ever needed anything else.

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