(Start here.) (Or just go backwards.)
After that we stood around a little bit, because we didn’t really want to go. The clouds faded and the sky got dark, and the bugs came out. We sat together on the my grandmother’s tiny front yard, near Doris’s pink flamingos. The lights went on in my grandmother’s house, and you could see them all talking—Pinky running around from my grandmother to my mother and back, and Jacob watching. “I have to go,” Emily said. “You should go too,” she said to Adam. “It’s all over now.”
“Yeah,” Adam said. “It is.”
Except we stayed for a while longer. “You know,” Phoebe pointed out, “maybe hanging out together is, you know, nudging the balance even more towards the positive, right? I mean, it probably it needs to be pushed that way all the time.”
“Probably,” Adam agreed.
“So every time I’m a jerk to my brother, I should, I don’t know, do something nice?” Emily said dubiously.
“You don’t have to be nice to him,” I pointed out. “You could be nice to someone else.”
“Yeah,” she said. “Well. I kind of want to get home. My aunt is probably better, right?” We all nodded, and Emily looked around at us, and then really fast she reached over and hugged me hard.
I hugged her back, even though normally I am not much of a hugging person.
Then she stood up, and Adam stood up too, and I knew we all had to go back to our regular lives. And even though truly, really, I’m not much of a hugging person, I hugged Adam, too, which was weird but not as embarrassing as you might think. And then Phoebe hugged them both, because: of course, it was Phoebe.
And then they walked off together down the street, Emily’s long skinny braid swaying behind her.
(Truly, that is the end, and for those of you who have stayed with me through to this point, THANK YOU! It is lovely to have readers. And now I am going to go jump in a lake for a few weeks. I shall return.)