Evelyn rushed back and forth, trying to meet the latest round of demands. She was tired and running out of breath. And now she was running behind.
She could tell by Rachel’s disapproving tone that her performance wasn’t measuring up. Her legs felt heavy. She was too slow. And her arms were straining from the weight.
She hated it when Rachel yelled her name like that.
She strained to get the word out between heavy gasps for air. If she could just carry the sand faster, she knew Rachel would be pleased. And Evelyn would no longer get the disapproving looks or harsh tone. She would finally be rewarded for her supererogatory efforts. Her older sister would actually express gratitude for her relentless efforts.
The red bucket relinquished its dirt every few steps as Evelyn’s small arms failed to steady it. Her short legs were moving as quickly as possible, but it wasn’t enough. A roaring wave–the biggest she had seen all day– rose high above the shore.
“Evelyn, why can’t you just–”
The wave came crashing down on Rachel and her pile of sand, toppling the child and washing away the material for her cosmopolitan sand city.
When the wave receded, Rachel was on her back coughing up ocean water a few feet away from her desired construction site.
Evelyn stared down at her sister, who looked dazed and confused, and somewhat like a stranded starfish.
“I’ll get more,” Evelyn said, reassuringly, before dumping the contents of her bucket and rushing off to acquire more dry sand.
She could hear Rachel behind her still sputtering and coughing, unable to even yell her name.