We are driving east on the 210, and I am grateful that there is AC in the car, because when I hold my hand to the window, it is as hot as the glass front of an oven. My eyes are closed, and I am almost asleep, and it feels like the car is ascending off the concrete. When we get to our destination, there is family and beer and noise.

My young cousin, the one who both needs touch and is scared of touch, wants to play. She holds her hand out to me, and when I reach to take it, she does not hold on, but slides her thin fingers quickly through my grasp– and in that instant, I am half afraid to let her go.