We all squinted a little when we stepped into the first floor apartment, and instinctively, our breath became slightly shallower. The Venetian blinds were always down, and the lace curtains created a shadowy haze that made me nervous. Even in the summer, she kept the windows closed.

She didn't live alone, but we barely noticed the nonentity of her husband. A short, paunch, damp-smelling man: my aunt's husband would stare at us from behind thick glasses and say little. With surprising dexterity he would run one hand over his balding head and scratch his bared belly with the other. I pinched my little sister to keep her from staring.

Whenever we leaned in to kiss Tia, we held our breath. It wasn't just that her teeth were rotting and her smile frightening, but she had an air of lazy madness about her. We knew about her episodes, where she would wander off for hours. She wore layers of black clothes, a wild mess of keys at her waist, and multiple rings on each finger. She gave up on attempting English years ago. Whenever she spoke to us, it was either my mother with the sad deflated look or my father with the tinny false cheerfulness who translated.

One day, sitting at home with my parents, we discussed which relative each of us children resembled. My youngest sister had a jaw like my mother. My brother was the spitting image of my father. My other sister had a constitution like my great aunt.

"You're just like my sister," my mother commented and my head snapped up. She paused and added, "You have the same hands."

I looked at my aunt's hands weeks later. We had the same fingers, the same knuckles, the same nails. Our wrists arched the same way. I looked at them lying in the folds of the black material over her lap. With a start, I realized that she was watching me stare. She smiled, that terrible smile, but in her eyes I saw the sadness and distant misery. I hid my hands in my pockets.