I remember black flies zinging in the heat. I remember squatting over a hole to pee. I remember padding around barefoot in the field behind our old clapboard house.
My little brother -- Atticus -- had a great big laugh. I swung him on a tractor tire hung from the oak. Up into the sky. Down over the dark earth.
I grew up soon after that, but Atticus always kept near, even after I scolded him with what Dad'd once told me:
"Family's like a well. If you draw on it too much, it'll run dry on you."
One night, Dad wiped his face with a rag, squinted and said, "Anna's a woman." Mom was at the stove making rolls. She turned and stared at me until I trembled and started to cry.
"Your dad's right," she said.
That week, Frank Jenkins came in his car, winking as he crossed the lawn to where I sat in porch shade -- long, easy strides. His shoes were shiny.
I lowered my eyes. He sat close on the porch swing, pushing us lightly with the soles of his shoes as he tried to think of something to say. The chains squeaked.
Mom'd said that Frank was handsome. Dad spat, but didn't say otherwise. He had a good job, in farm machinery sales.
I saw Atticus out across the road, in the neighbor's field. Dad must have told him to stay clear. He was wandering around hitting things with a stick of wood, making believe we couldn't see him.