I remember the humidity. Everything damp and sticky, like sweat replaced with sugary tree sap, and we're attracting flies. Bones melting, slowly enough that it feels like rubber, and you can't even lift an arm. Your brain is soup, sloshing thickly in your skull, and everything is warm and hazy. It's almost pleasant, in a masochistic, vaguely agonizing, kind of way. You wish you could retreat somewhere cooler, but there's a certain pleasure in letting your meat melt right off your bones.
I remember those days like an out-of-focus camera. Everything is colors, and blurry shapes. And sounds are more like emotional impressions. I don't remember what those days sounded like. But that was home. And that was life, back then. Or at least, that was life in the summer, in the south, in a tropical paradise.
Most of all, I remember my sisters. We were a matched set. Three little girls, charming, and sweet, and well-behaved. Idyllic and idealized. When I think of the way we were, back then, I see soft colors; the smudged pastels of my older sister; the dark, practical shades of our youngest.
Rosemary, the eldest. The great beauty of the family. The sweetest girl you would ever meet. Anxious, in equal parts, for affection and acceptance.
Rachel, the youngest. Intelligent, obedient, and organized. A girl scout, uninitiated, and a terribly talented athlete.
Myself, the ominous middle-child, prone to mood swings, with nothing to do but observe. Luisa, who was once a gifted child.
We were a group isolated. In a small town where children were introduced by their parentage, we were known for the distance we kept. Our parents were notoriously strict. So notorious, in fact, that friends stopped inviting us out, assuming correctly that we wouldn't be allowed anyway. Mothers encouraged sons to pursue us, knowing we weren't allowed to accept advances. That was just how things were, until the last summer.