It was summer. The flavor of Italy was lemon sherbet. She was fifteen, I was thirteen, and both of us were beautiful.
I don’t remember how we met, probably because of a smile. Her family stayed at the opposite end of the camp ground from mine. She only spoke Italian and a few words of French. I only spoke German and a little English. Still, I learned her name, Daniela, and she learned mine.
Each day we walked together on the beach, bent over pretty shells and pebbles and scuttling crabs, murmuring in our languages we couldn’t understand. We also drew pictures in the sand and knew all we needed to know.
She liked braiding my hair. Her own was long and blond, and her eyes were dark brown. She had tiny freckles scattered on her nose.
One night she went out dancing with her Italian teenage friends. I wanted to go, but my parents said I was too young. She stopped by our tent so that I could admire her white dress.
The morning my family left, she came early with three daisies and a smile. I also smiled. Nothing could be saved into the future, not even the logic of shared phrases. I only learned one word of her language that year: “amica.” I could have learned more. It wasn’t necessary. When I think of her I feel as though my eyes are filled with sun.