By the time April rolled around, Daddy and Uncle Johnny were still missing. It was already 100 degrees, the grass was fried, and the paint peeled up like Sunday ribbons from Mr. West’s Chevy. What little air there was to breathe boiled around us in waves.
Mr. West, Daddy’s friend, honked the horn outside Aunt Iris’s house. Momma waited a beat and then opened the car door.
Mr. West held up his hand. “We said 9:30. It’s 9:30.”
My baby brother crawled around in the front seat.
“Iris knows when Easter service starts.”
Momma closed the door.
I had spent the morning submerged. My fists pounded the sides of our metal tub, vibrations chasing circles around me before fading into nothing. I wondered if that was what sonar sounded like. Daddy said submarines had a special way of seeing, so even in the dark they could find their way.
I met Momma’s eyes in the rearview.
“Aunt Iris might need help with the food,” I said.
Mr. West positioned my brother on the seat beside him before responding. “Five minutes.”
Dandelion puffs hung like ghosts around the front porch swing. The house was silent. Seven peach pies cooled in the kitchen. Aunt Iris was out back, lying on the ground in front of Uncle Johnny’s shed, her blue dress darkened with sweat. Overalls lay neatly beside her. Her hand was in one of the pockets.
“Hey, Short Stack,” she said, her eyes closed.
“Mr. West gonna leave us if we don’t get. C’mon, we can sit together in the backseat.”
“Wanna sit together now.” She patted the dirt.
I brushed dust from the lace tops of my white socks as I reclined. The sun was smothered.
“Why’d you make all them pies?” I asked.
“Momma put you down for potato salad.”
“Salad don’t keep.”
Clouds started to crisscross, headed straight for each other. I braced myself for collision.
Sonar was originally published in Don't Take Pictures Magazine.