We met by the Sea
We met by the sea. Loano, in northern Italy, where our grandparents vacationed often. They said the air was good for their "salute," their health. We remember it clearly, the ocean, the mountains surrounding us, the air. We remember the hot sand beneath our feet, the sun's rays on our hands, our faces, our bodies, and we remember our youth. We were beautiful. Young, careless, ungrateful. We didn't think of the future or growing up or getting old, we thought only of the air, the salt water, and cold gelato sliding down our throats. We thought about kissing too, but I suppose what teenager doesn't think about kissing? We wanted so badly to kiss each other, but we also didn't understand this want, this desire.
We didn't understand a lot the summer when we were both sixteen, both visiting our grandparents, who were friends and neighbors, while we were strangers to each other, both second generation Italians born in America, both outsiders in our own homeland. We were both shy, but with our hair a similar shade of brown, we took to each other, friends in the beginning, and enemies sometime after that, then friends again. We were in a daze. A daze of summer sun and ocean breeze, gelato and Nonna's cooking, like and dislike, but mostly like. We splashed in the cold, clear blue of the sea, and ran through the crowds on the shore, kicking up sand as we zigzagged between beach chairs and multicolored towels.
We met in a homeland foreign to both of us, and we loved each other like no one loved before, at least in our minds. No one else mattered besides us. We were real, messy, jagged, but somehow still whole, well put together, Beautiful.
Our cheeks were always wind-whipped red. We listen to the waves and breathed in the sea.
We stared off into the distance at the turtle shell shaped island and wondered if it was a giant turtle, or if people lived there, or if little tiny turtles rand the island themselves. We loved guessing. We chased after the gulls and ate chips and had fresh fruit filled drinks. The wind took away our troubles, and brought us good things. Our aunts would tell us that the wind took away the bad and brought the good; we didn't understand it then, but we learned and understood everything in time.