The Sanders never went to church on Sundays, but they were always gone by the time we piled into the wagon for the first service. Wherever they went, they didn’t have to wear slacks or skirts or uncomfortable shoes. Mom suggested I should invite Rachel to come along with us, trying to hold back from telling us how she prays for that family everyday. With both parents working and the music that came from the brothers’ windows, Mom said they needed someone to grab the Lord’s attention to keep an eye on sweet Rachel.
In the summer, they often came home late in the afternoon, and showed us coolers filled with clams or crabs and pockets full of shells. It was one of the rare sightings we caught of the brothers too, who hardly ever came out of their rooms. They only ever appeared when there was food. And therefore they were just as interesting as a cooler of clams.
One Saturday before summer really dove into the heat, Rachel and I played all day in the woods that we had been kidnapped. When we finally escaped our captors, we ran to her house, famished. Her mom was reading on the porch and looked up like she was actually grateful to see us.
I was just about to come find you, she said.
Not a chance, said Rachel, those guys were were quite clever this round and covered all their tracks.
Well, obviously they’re no match for you two. And thank goodness for that. How about a snack?
We followed her into the house. All of the windows were open and it smelled like outside. She cut string cheese into stips and wrapped it with salami. Then sliced up an apple for us to share. She ate a few pieces as she watched us eat.
We’re going to the beach tomorrow for clams, Tina, want to come along?
Tomorrow’s Sunday, I have church.
Ah yes, she said, and then she paused to keep from saying all the others things she might have said.
Well, maybe I can convince your Mom to let you miss a day?
Doubtful, I said.