A young Southern girl adores her beautiful, wild aunt, but soon learns the truth about the aunt’s abusive relationship with her boyfriend.
So many years later, and it’s the bugs I remember most about those summer nights in the country with Aunt Lou. Sophie and I would pluck fireflies from the skies—Lampyridae, I later learned, an ugly term for such lovely creatures—we’d smear their phosphorescence onto our brown skin, and dance around like the small savages we were, while Aunt Lou laughed. It was like the 4th of July every time the sun went down and the grass came alive with lightning bugs, lace bugs and crickets. When we grew tired, we’d lie on our backs in the long grass and use our fingertips to connect the stars.
And then there were the summer storms—lightning storms in Kentucky are bang-up, tremendous. They come on all of a sudden, the weather unsettling—mutable as a woman in love— and wash the sky with black, split the clouds with a crack so loud you think the very house might break in two. And then the rain—sheeting and silvery, leaving the grass as wet and wobbly as a newborn foal.