As the wind fell through the birch tree, Basil bathed in it’s shade, laying first on his stomach, then rolling onto his side, his back, and his other side, ultimately returning to his stomach. He repeated this circle over and over again, moving only when a new section of his body needed the refreshing breeze. Sprawled across the grass next to the Dalmatian was Bunny, my younger sister, and she copied each of Basil’s movements, from the rolling to the contented sigh he would breathe after completing each section of his roll. Bunny had stayed there a surprisingly long amount of time; most seventh-graders had better things to do than lay on the grass playing an incredibly juvenile game. Eventually, she stood and walked over to the patio table where her brand new, touch-screen cell phone was lying, and brought it back to the circle of shade Basil had claimed. She settled once again with her back on the grass and pressed the intangible buttons for entertainment.
“Tell your sister not to roll around in the grass,” my mother said with little intonation. She had pulled a chair away from our dining room table, pretending to clean it, but I’d caught her sitting in several times already, staring out the window, just waiting.
I left her to her desperation and obeyed her, stepping out into the backyard where Bunny and Basil were relaxing. As the door tinged shut, Basil’s head shot up, and one of his ears was flopped over. Bunny copied him for the thousandth time that afternoon, and her own wavy hair—mud-colored, just like the rest of our female family members—was blown over to one side of her head. “Mom doesn’t want you rolling around in the grass,” I told her, sitting down with my back against the tree’s trunk. Basil flopped like a dead fish in his attempt to stand up; his long, gangly legs made it hard. He trotted over to me, and circled, settling back on his stomach with his head on my thigh. I rubbed his bony skull and he let out another sigh.
Bunny ignored my message and said, “He never sits with me.”
“Maybe because you never leave him alone,” I suggested, returning Basil’s ear to its proper place. A bit of silence passed between my sister and me, and I closed my eyes for a moment, and just listened. The days of late spring had been unbearably hot, but that morning came in cool breezes and the sounds of a dry, California summer, and I had no intention of letting it pass by as I waited lamely by the window for Stacia to arrive.