Saliva dried up in our mouths like an August drought, and a thin layer of sweat filmed our faces. Eyes squinted up at the sky as the sun burned holes through our eyelids. We were children on the bridge to adulthood, teenagers, still discovering our place in the world, questioning if there was even such a thing.
Ripened peaches fell from the trees and hit the ground like canonballs, their fuzzy skin bursting with juices; flies hovered over the destroyed fruit, sucking up their nectar. The sweet stench filled the hot air, both refreshing and sickly.
It was the peak of summer, the orchard alive with birds and bees. We were tasked to stay outside and scare the pests away when we would much rather be jumping into cool, clean waters, drenching our clothes, and playing with the frogs.
Those days were the epitome of summer: lying in the orchard and swimming in the lakes, walking through the amber woods, hours of car drives going nowhere in particular, and nights around the dining table, stuffing our faces with mom's meals, fighting and loving and dancing in the living room, carving our names onto the porch and meeting that one boy secretly in the middle of the night.