Alicia kicked a little stone on the dirt road. She
was almost home. Tomorrow is the last day, she
thought, hunching her shoulders with expectation.
The long lazy summer vacation would start
Now that she could ride her bike to town, she
could spend whole days with Margie and Tonie.
Picnics in the park, ice cream at the drugstore. She
could hardly wait.
She untied her shoes and pulled them off.
Stuffing her socks into the toes, she stepped onto
the lush green grass, sniffing the lilacs blooming on
the old bush by the front door.
She squished her toes into the sponging lawn
and walked slowly around to the side door. The sun
warmed her back and thoughts of summer freedom
filled her heart. She took a long deep breath.
When she opened the door, she heard Charlie
wailing like a police siren and her heart sank. I
forgot about Charlie, she thought. This could be a
“Allie, would you check on Charlie, please?”
her mother called from the kitchen. “I’m right in the
middle of this.”
Mom’s always right in the middle of
something, she thought. She turned and headed
towards her brother’s room, dragging her feet.
Wonder what it is this time. Probably a loaded
Just as she reached the door, she heard a
thud. The wailing stopped. She popped open the
door and saw Charlie, sprawled on the floor
beneath his crib, face down.
She ran toward his limp body.
Her mother ran down the hall.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
Allison shook her head. “I don’t know. Looks
like he knocked himself out trying to get out of
Mom stood wringing her hands and saying,
“Oh no, oh no,” over and over.
“We’ve got to get help,” Allie said, standing up. Her mother did not move. She stood staring
down at Charlie. She’s in shock, Allie realized.
Allie ran to the phone to call 911. A calm voice
answered. Allie gave the woman the address and
“Keep him still,” the woman told her. “Don’t move
him until the ambulance crew gets there. They are
on their way.”
She went back into the room where Mom was
leaning over Charlie, patting him. Mom started to
roll him over, but Allie stopped her.
“The ambulance is coming,” she said. “They
said not to move him until someone gets here.”
“Looks like a light concussion,” the EMT said,
checking him over. Charlie began to moan and his
legs twitched. “We’ll take him in and get him X-
rayed, but his vital signs are good. Little guys like
this usually bounce back in a hurry,” he assured
An hour later, they were on the way home with
Charlie safely bundled into the car seat. When they
stopped at a red light, Mom turned to Allie.
“I’m so glad you were there,” she said. “You
really kept your head, Allie. I’m proud of you.”
Allie smiled. “Thanks, Mom. I’m glad I was
there too. I’m glad Charlie's okay.”
A wave of love filled her when she glanced
back at her little brother, bright eyed in the back
seat. He gave her a big grin.
She smiled back at him and thought about the
summer days ahead. Charlie was just a baby last
year. This summer, they could look for bugs in the
garden and find the first red strawberries together.
She took a deep breath and leaned back.
Sunlight poured through the window, brightening
the lawns and flowers they drove past. There would
be lots of time for swimming and ice cream and
friends, she knew, and there would be time for
I bet he will like grass between his toes too,
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