This time of year I always start thinking of China, intensely. The rains end in June and sweltering heat swoops in. I remember my aunt sitting on a small bench by the doorway one summer, trying to catch a breeze, sewing something, probably patching up one of my silk tanks. You can’t wear anything but silk in that weather. Cotton turns into a wet rag.
Drops of sweat kept rolling down the tip of her nose onto the point of the needle. We weren’t doing anything except keeping still, dripping in sweat, eating watermelon, and running the pale green rinds along our skin to cool off.
Watermelon vendors would come to the door with melons piled high in their carts. We would buy several at a time and roll them under the bed, the coolest, darkest spot in the house. Sometimes up to ten. They’re smaller and rounder there, with seeds that make them sweeter.
My mom tells me that when I was a baby, before I had teeth, she and my dad would scoop out the watermelon flesh and beat it into a pulp until they could get a cup of juice from it. My poor parents would then eat the flavorless pulp while I guzzled down the sweet, quenching liquid…
It has been my favorite juice since then.