A woman and her pregnant sister sat on lawn chairs slatted with shade on the deck behind the house. It was very hot, and the sister’s husband would come in forty minutes. He would stop at the house for dinner and then take his wife home. The hill underneath the swing-set in the backyard was dry and brown.
“Should we help dad?” the sister asked. She was fanning herself with her hand and chewing ice from a red mug.
“I’m too hot,” said the woman.
“Want some ice?”
“It hurts my teeth.”
Their father was digging out dandelions with a screwdriver along the edge of the yard. The slope was bleached in the sun and patched with dead grass.
“It needs water,” the sister said.
“Too late now.”
“Mom!” the sister called. Their mother opened the back door and looked out.
“Does Dad need help?”
“If you want.”
“I’m too hot.”
“Then why did you ask?” said the woman.
“Don’t fight, girls,” their mother said and closed the door to keep the air conditioning inside the house.
“You could help,” said the sister.
“He didn’t ask us.”
“It’s hard for me to bend over.” The sister laid a hand on the mound of her belly.
The woman squeezed her own arm and left five white fingerprints. “Does it hurt?”
“She kicks sometimes. She kicked all through church today.”
“She’s getting big.”
“Yes. She’ll be here soon.”
The woman nodded and rubbed her thighs. She looked out at their father, kneeling in the dirt.
“Have you decided on someone then?”
The sister looked at her mug and chose another piece of ice.
“Eric’s cousin and her husband,” she said.
“It’s not that we don’t think you and Emma would be good.”
“We’re going to be the aunts for God’s sake.”
“Eric’s just old fashioned.”
“What about you?”
“I want you to be happy.”
A wasp landed on the railing and crawled along the wood.
“Do you remember poison ball?” asked the woman.
“The game we played. The ball was poison.”
“Were we little?”
“Yeah, pretty little.”
“I don’t remember it,” said the sister.
“We always climbed on top of the swing-set to be out of reach. If it touched you, you were frozen.”
“What was the point?”
“You had to wait for someone to save you.”
“And if no one saved you?”
The sister didn’t say anything. She stroked her stomach.
“You liked it,” said the woman.
Their father unearthed another dandelion and put it into his black trash bag.
“We could play it,” the woman said. “When she’s big enough.” She pointed at the sister’s belly.
“It was a long time ago.” The sister pressed an ice cube to the vein in her wrist. “I really don’t remember it.”