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.

The pool was for her cousins, her mother had said when it arrived. Am I allowed to swim in it? Rosemary asked. Her mother, so often tired of her: quick sigh; rolled eyes; long gaze in the rearview mirror. Don’t be dramatic, she said. It’s for all of you, to play in. Didn’t you have fun in their pool last summer? That pool on the other side of the country; a real pool; a hole in the ground so deep your ears would burst if you ever reached the bottom. For a week, all they did was swim. Her little cousins: industrious dog-paddlers in water wings and goggles. Days of somersaults, bobbing for toys, Marco Polo. Marco! What? her uncle roared, her real uncle. The little cousins laughed; his name was Marco. Never tired of the gag, they cried for more until the parents took their drinks inside. They went to a lot of trouble for you, Rosemary’s mother said. The little cousins wanted rides on her back; she was the Loch Ness Monster, a mermaid, a dolphin, a ferry. And Rosemary’s other cousin, two years older than her, he wanted to play levitation. Each day, a magician; his hands on her shoulder blades, the backs of her thighs, her hips. Sun in her eyes; she floated. Abracadabra! he said. The little cousins clapped, flapped their water wings. And now I will make her disappear! She sank herself then, swam along the belly of the pool where the automatic cleaner, strange fish, clicked. Plastic toys littered the depths; how long could she hold her breath? I got sunburned, Rosemary told her mother. Well there’s a thing called sunblock, her mother said. You need to have fun with your cousins. That’s what hosts do.

Rosemary’s mother in the jacuzzi with her college roommate and the college roommate’s boyfriend. His arm around the roommate’s neck. Bob! Come on in. Lenore, water’s nice. Her mother balanced on the edge of the jacuzzi, shouting out; a splash of water at the man in the straw fedora. Her arched back; her leg thrown up in the air. When she was young, Rosemary’s mother had been a ballerina in local productions. Now, like Rosemary’s father, she showed and sold homes. She liked to say to Rosemary: You should want to be more than you are. Journals; barrettes; makeup; the two-piece; shoes with one-inch heels; she bought Rosemary a posterboard for her room on which to write her goals and the steps she would take to achieve them. Tacked to the wall; her mother handed her the marker. Rosemary uncapped it and asked, Who should I want to be?

All right, all right! The man in the fedora pulling off his polo shirt. We got ourselves a party! Rosemary’s father leaned against the jacuzzi, rubbing her mother’s shoulders; Mrs. Patterson unzipping her hibiscus dress. Single warm burst of wind; a moth paddling one-winged around the pool. Rosemary grabbed her ankles and sank to the bottom; the lining slick rubber like the underside of a dolphin. She floated up and spit water. Knees to the wall, chin on the rim of the pool; a sparrow on the fence, peering down. Clap of wings; it was gone. No one looked toward the pool. As she had wished, Rosemary was imperceptible. A popped cork; a fallen beer can; a slosh over the jacuzzi rim. Darts plugged, far miss, into the wooden fence. Rosemary’s parents and her parents’ friends. They were so shameless. Mrs. Patterson’s bare foot up on the seat of Mr. Parker’s chair, between his parted knees; Patricia’s oiled legs; Mrs. Wentz’s thighs; her purple spider veins. Her parents were quick to laugh. No one could see them; could they see themselves? The sun was setting; the sky burned; the moon already risen; a low jet sighing; its orange, glinting wink. Rosemary floated on her back and looked for birds in the tree that bowed over from the neighbor’s yard. All the leaves, heart-shaped, pointed down at her. The water lapped her cheeks. While he levitated her, he’d said just to her: I bet you’ll look really different next summer. His wet hair dripping water onto her chest. Somewhere in the neighborhood, someone started up a motorcycle and rode away. Somewhere in the neighborhood, a summer party was winding down. It was the time when animals crept off and settled down for sleep.

Rosemary’s father lit the tiki torches. The cake, pineapple bundt, was sliced, passed around on paper plates. A dollop of whipped cream; maraschino cherries. Mmmmm, Rosemary’s mother said; a mouthful of whipped cream from her pinkie finger. Rosemary’s skin was pruned. The scab on her shin gone white and doughy. She climbed the ladder again, tailbone tucked, and hopped to the grass. She had forgotten a towel. Dripping, she put her clothes back on, wrung out her hair. She crossed the lawn toward the house, butt of her shorts wet, shirt clinging to her breasts. Dry, poking lawn; chip crumbs in a bowl; sugar smell of alcohol. Four yellowjackets, legs and abdomens fretting, claimed the platter of leftover juices and meat. Her parents and her parents’ friends, between flames, reflected in the sliding glass. A shout. Bull’s-eye! Hey, Rose! It was Uncle Bobby. Rosemary had already snapped the sliding screen closed.

The fridge, empty now except for condiments; in the freezer, one last bag of ice. The night before, Rosemary and her parents ate TV dinners and ice cream to make room. The ground beef defrosting in the sink; such a mound of it. Her mother had said, You could go to the movies tomorrow. We’ll give you money, her father said. Rosemary shrugged. Her mother asked, Why don’t you call Kelly? Aren’t you friends with Meghan anymore? Or Grace? Shrug. Kelly is at her dad’s for the summer. She didn’t say: When was the last time any of them had called her back? Her father asked, What about a boy? Rosemary shook her head. She would just stay here. She would stay out of the way, she promised. Okay then. Her parents loaded the dishwasher, sponged the countertops, hid clutter in cabinets. Rosemary watched her ice cream soften; flecks of peach floating in white.

In the living room, Rosemary sat, knees up, on the floor between the sofa and the coffee table. She had shed her wet clothes and bathing suit in her room upstairs, put on pajamas: an oversize T-shirt, long as a dress, that had been her father’s. The evening was blue now; she didn’t bother with the lamp. The TV on low; the fan oscillating; wind in her ear; chin on her knee; knees tented under the shirt; fingernail under the edge of her scab. In one week, her cousins would arrive. She would hug them at the airport; she would levitate in the pool.

Rosemary’s parents and her parents’ friends, in her periphery, yellow in the glow of the patio light. The tiki torches; the rock songs her parents had listened to when they were her age; the game of boccie grown competitive, loud. Eeeey! Uncle Bobby chasing a woman around the yard with a fistful of ice. A shriek; breathless; ice down the front of her shirt. The Pattersons singing along to the music, drinks raised; Patricia climbing down the ladder into the pool; her rear swaying above the water; her toe dipping in. It’s so cold! The swimmers staring up at her. Rosemary’s mother, in the pool, sitting across her father’s lap. Lauren’s father’s new wife’s calves rising above the water; a handstand. That’s what I’m talking about! Drumming on the side of the pool. The sliding screen leaping across its track. Uncle Bobby, heavy-stepped, crossed the TV toward the restroom. He didn’t see Rosemary sitting on the floor in the dark. She lowered herself behind the coffee table and lay down, wet hair on the carpet. When he came back out, he stopped at the foot of the staircase. Rose? he called up. Rosie? No answer. He turned back to the party, parted the screen door. Rosemary stood and crept up the carpeted stairs, back to her parents’ bedroom, black as a cave. She shut the door and locked it. Ceiling fan wafting hot air; itchy bedspread just like lying across dry grass. Rosemary set her head between her parents’ pillows. The movies, how would she have gotten home, anyway?

His burned and peeling shoulders; his stringy arms; his big feet and his long toes. His bitten nails on the backs of her legs; his expression like a wet paper bag. He’d levitated her and said, Most other girls pretend to be prettier than they are. He was always tugging at the crotch of his swim trunks, his shorts. Even at the dinner table, where her little cousins ate with plastic spoons. Baked chicken thighs; lima beans; bread with melted cheddar cheese. Grown-ups talking; food mixing in their mouths. Wet sounds of chewing; slurped juice. Eat your food, Rosemary, her father had said. He said it all the time. He’d say it again next week. He’d make Rosemary sing her choir songs. He’d move back into her mother’s room, the rollaway bed claimed by guests. Her mother would show her sister the new daisies; the stereo; the pavers; the pool. Baked chicken thighs; lima beans; bread with melted cheddar cheese. Hamburgers and hot dogs; bowls of potato salad, bean salad, fruit salad, jello salad. The same meals; the same stereo songs; two pitchers on the patio table; spatula in her father’s hand; pool gaping. Unless she ran away. The ceiling fan clicked. Outside: hollow aluminum clunk; a slap of water; her father’s laugh a howl; a brand-new song. Inside: quiet. At least she’d been forgotten. A breeze picked up, brought fresh air into the bedroom. Rosemary closed her eyes. Unless she sprained her ankle. Heat-tired; skin taut and chlorine-dry. She put her hands over her breasts, tender for more than a year, and bigger. She could tell. If she broke her leg. Outside: giggling; humming; low talking; cups plunged into the ice cubes; pound of dart on board. Appendicitis; amnesia. A lit cigar; the bubbling jacuzzi; one boccie ball striking another. If she joined the circus. Cannonball splash; a chair scraped against concrete; cricket song ringing; the sky itself breathing. If she were kidnapped; if she fell down a well; if she disappeared, just like that. Imperceptible, even to herself. If she vanished. Or, if she levitated, truly. Abracadabra; out of the water; up through the clouds; each chin lifting to watch her float. Into thin air; clap, she’d be gone.