Mom’s baby is crying. She always cries.
I can’t think of anything to do. It is hot outside. It is hot inside. I try throwing my ball against the house but Mom comes out and says, “Shhh, Sharley! You’ll wake the baby!”
I ride my bike up and down the driveway. I bump into the garage. That was fun! I ride to the end of the driveway, then back to the garage. I bump into it again. And again and again, harder and harder.
Mom comes out and says, “What are you doing, Sharley? You’re making a racket. Shh!”
I throw my bike down and stamp my foot and make a bad face at her.
Mom says, “Sharley, go get your bathing suit on. Then you can run in the sprinkler.”
“YAY!” I yell. The sprinkler sounds like fun and I won’t be hot anymore.
“Shh, you’ll wake up Baby Sissy!” says Mom.
I get my bathing suit on. Sissy is sleeping in her crib. She looks hot. I go to the bathroom and turn on the faucet. The water is nice and cool. I make my hands like a cup and put them under the water. Then I carry the water to the crib and pour it on Baby Sissy so she can be cool. She starts to cry.
Mom comes running from outside. She picks up that screaming baby. The baby is wet. Mom looks at me and my wet hands. She says, “OUT!”
I go out. The sprinkler is on. I run through it. The water feels good. I run through it again. Water gets in my face. I run inside to get a towel. Mom is holding Sissy and stirring something on the stove. Sissy is crying. I run to the bathroom for the towel.
When I come back I slip on the water on the floor. I sit down hard. I cry. Mom says, “OUT!”
I go outside with the towel. I put it on the grass. I run through the sprinkler. I wipe my face when it gets wet.
I hear the car! Dad is home! I run to the front yard. He has on his suit and white shirt and tie. He takes off his jacket and pulls the tie out of his shirt. He picks me up and throws me up into the air, just like always. Water drips on him. He laughs. He says, “That feels good! It’s SOOO hot today, I need to cool off!”
Dad turns off the sprinkler. I get the towel and we go to the door. Before we go inside Dad dries me off. Then we go in and he uses the towel to wipe up the water from the kitchen floor that my feet made.
He goes to the bottom of the stairs and looks up. He tiptoes up the stairs. I start to come up but he shakes his head. That means no.
I stay at the bottom of the stairs. I hear Mom and Dad talking very quietly. I don’t know what they are saying.
Then Dad comes down with dry clothes for me and helps me change out of my bathing suit. We go to the kitchen to get supper ready.
After supper Dad gets me ready for bed. He doesn’t ask me what book I want. He doesn’t read to me at all. Instead he turned off the light and said, “Charley, you need to go right to sleep. Tomorrow we are going somewhere nice and cool but it is a long ride from here and we have to leave early in the morning.”
Dad always called me Charley. Mom called me Sharley because my name was Charlotte and when I was a baby she made it sound like a baby name: Sharley. But when Sissy was born, Dad started to call me Charley. He was Charles and I was Charley and Mom was Cecelia and her baby was Sissy because that was the baby name for Cecelia. So our whole family was Charles and Cecelia and Charlotte and Cecelia, except Mom was Cecelia Scott and Sissy was just Cecelia. And Mom called me Sharley and called that baby Sissy, and Dad called me Charley.
Dad covered me with just a sheet and turned on the fan in my hot room. He winked at me and smiled and I knew he and I had a secret. And I wondered what it was till I fell asleep.
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