Rosemary looked over the party; her parents and her parents’ friends down below on the sod lawn. Seersucker and espadrilles; white cotton dresses; Brazilian jazz; the costumes of their heyday. They drank beer and Long Island iced tea and white wine punch, a recipe Rosemary’s mother had clipped from a magazine. Two pitchers on the patio table, under the shade of an umbrella, and two more, waiting in the fridge. Ice cubes slugged into the ice chest; smell of window screen like rust. There were Mr. and Mrs. Carson; Mr. and Mrs. Wentz; the Pattersons in matching hibiscus print; Patricia, who cut Rosemary’s hair; Lauren’s father and his nameless new wife. Lauren, a classmate, had been invited by Rosemary’s mother. Did Lauren want to come over and watch movies with Rosemary while the adults got together? No, Lauren was busy—she declined. The doorbell rang once, twice; adults Rosemary didn’t know statued the lawn. Introductions. Scoops of ice; drinks passed hand to hand; a swat at a bee; a tottering heel on the grass. The doorbell rang again. The glasses sweated condensation. The jacuzzi, that vacant lake, threatened to boil over. It was summer, and the clouds had set sail for cooler climes; it was summer, and Rosemary’s parents had snatched up the first party of the season. Rosemary’s mother wore shorts and a bikini top with red and white stripes. Peering navel. Effervescent, she placed herself between an unfamiliar man in a straw fedora and Uncle Bobby, who was not in truth an uncle. Rosemary’s father unbuttoned his shirt; soft, furred stomach exposed to grill. Hamburger or hot dog? he shouted to each guest, spatula in hand. Her mother between two men on the rocking glider. Rosemary thought of a painting she had seen in a book: two men picnicking in suits, ties, hats; between them, a naked woman; her right breast like a full, floating moon. She made it seem strange to be clothed. Then Uncle Bobby unbuttoned his shirt, too. Red, round belly tufted as a nest. Empty beer cans in a bin with a paper sign that said recycle; hollow aluminum clunk. Rosemary watched the party from her parents’ bedroom, the second-floor window that looked out across the fenced yard. The sheer curtains, they were opaque from the outside during the daytime. It was at night, when the lights were on indoors, that you had to be sure to draw the blinds before you got undressed. Rosemary’s mother told her this, and often. The doorbell once again.

Platters of hamburgers and hot dogs; bowls of potato salad, bean salad, fruit salad, jello salad stationed across the tablecloth. A feast. Rosemary descended the stairs and waited behind the sliding screen door, shoulder against the frame. Little napkins like square chunks of seeded watermelon; plastic forks that squeaked; her mother’s sunglasses perched atop her head; bangs pulled back into an upright fringe. She squawked, Come and get it! The guests loaded up their plates. Her father refilled glasses, a pitcher in each hand. Rosemary’s parents and her parents’ friends, they reclined on patio furniture and foldout chairs; they stood around, drinks for the moment at rest on side tables. New mosaic pavers leading to the jacuzzi; new stereo with larger speakers; new rollaway bed for her father to sleep on in his office, but that was hidden in the garage for now. White gerbera daisies her mother had bought and potted the weekend before. Two hamburgers on her father’s plate, and grilled corn. Under her shorts and T-shirt, Rosemary wore a bathing suit, her first two-piece. She wanted to go swimming, not in the jacuzzi, which was so near the adults, but in the aboveground pool, delivered yesterday, that her father had spent all day filling with water from the hose. Four feet deep, at the far end of the yard, its water yawned. Fridge behind her whirring; sweat on the back of her neck; it was hot inside and out. Rosemary’s father wouldn’t flip on the AC unless outside it breached ninety degrees. Economical, he said, smart. Hon! Rosemary’s mother called. Rosemary had been spotted at the screen door. Come get some food before it’s cold! Rosemary said, The salads are supposed to be cold. Her mother pushed a plate into Rosemary’s hands, put her sunglasses back over her eyes, put a hand on Uncle Bobby’s shoulder. She said, Just get some food. You need another beer, Bob?

A scoop of fruit salad, a scoop of potato salad, a hot dog with no bun. Whoa there, kid, why you growing up so fast? Uncle Bobby palmed a plate in one hand, held a beer in the other, popped the tab with his thumb. Who said you could change so much? Rosemary said, I don’t think I have a say in it; she dipped the end of her hot dog in mustard and bit. Uncle Bobby with his questions about school and cross-country and choir and friends; then he needed another hamburger. Patricia approached, worked her way through the same questions. And boys? she asked. No boys, Rosemary said. I’ll give you layers next time, Patricia said; she touched Rosemary’s hair, her cheek. Frame your pretty face. Rose! Why don’t you sing something for us? Her father crossed the lawn, beer in a cozy. What was that song you were practicing yesterday? Rosemary shook her head. I’m eating, Dad. Starchy honeydew; bland potatoes. The bean salad was good; sharp vinegar and salt. Rosemary’s mother was dancing samba by the stereo, laughing with her old college roommate. Over the roommate’s swimsuit, a gauzy shift. You could see everything through it. Another drink; another plate; a squeezed bicep; a pinched behind; Rosemary’s parents and her parents’ friends drifted away on other currents. Barefoot, Rosemary crossed the lawn to the pool. She went around to the far side, hidden, to remove her shorts and shirt. The plastic ladder took her up and over. At the apex, she tightened her stomach, elbows across her breasts. She hopped in. Colder than she expected; tiptoes on the bottom. The water came up and licked her chin.