Ohio knows how to do summer. Hot air sweeps down from blue skies and bites tanned skin. Bees tease flowers under cotton candy clouds. The house fills with the season as lilies turn into hydrangea, hydrangea are joined by daisies, and blooms gather into messy sprays. The lawn is green, rain falling often enough that each blade almost qualifies to be wrapped in a Crayola label. The sun surrenders red and glints through golden locks. Darkness sinks slowly and pleasantly swaddles exposed toes. There's hope in the soft pink sky.
Tucker knows how to do summer, too. His skin glows the delicious shade of a Georgia peach. Except for the spots where bruises and scrapes mark his legs. Patrolling the yard, barefoot and bare bottom, has become his specialty. He points at small insects and colorful birds and wing-tipped aircraft, while words line up inside his mouth like they're awaiting launch from a runway. Soil peeks from under his fingernails and watermelon juice drips from his chin. His head tilts back as laughter escapes his lips. There's hope in every inch of him.