Summer started when the fair came to town. Bundles of spun sugar, shrieks from rides that twirled and dipped, tents with sharp points, eager faces behind booths, urging you to throw a dart, pop a balloon, win a stuffed monkey. Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re guaranteed to win!
My sister asked me why I liked the fair so much, why there were stars on my calendar for each day it was in town. Buttery, I replied. The fair felt buttery.
My sister told me that didn’t make sense. But that’s what the fair was to me: indulgent, comforting, like watching butter melt on a warm roll. That buttery feeling left when the fair packed up and moved on, when the second half of summer began.
The warmth of June began to weigh on our foreheads, suffocating and oppressive. My mom would twist my hair into a long, sweaty braid, her fingers lightly grazing my neck. Eventually, we retreated into the shadows like rats, stripping off our clothes and laying wet towels on our chests.