My useless right arm, dead-weight in its navy-blue sling, disquieted Claire, an unforeseen consequence of yesterday’s practice under a brutal scorched-earth El Paso sky.
Let me wash your hair, she said.
My squat, 9th grade linebacker legs barely enabled me to park my wavy auburn mop under the steaming hot water of our ancient high-top farmhouse sink.
The kitchen light flickered overhead while the drone of errant houseflies matched the cadence of my sister’s slender fingers as she massaged my scalp.
She worked quietly, slowly.
Claire’s lean frame stretched, extending itself over, above and around me. I puzzled over the fullness of her breathing, the Granny Smith-scent of her unruffled skin hinting at some hidden galaxy on the far reaches of everything I thought I understood.
My sister: warm and soft, an astonishing mystery.
The second application of shampoo yielded a lighter, airier lather. She nudged the faucet spout ever so slightly, ratcheting up the heat. Water just shy of scalding, yet tolerable somehow.
Neither of us spoke a word.
Another insect — its low buzz circling above us — joined its brethren in lackadaisical flight as my sister toweled my head dry, the palpable touch of her hands moving in that same dawdling carnal rhythm.