Twenty years on, I still long for the days of that stifling Summer in Italy. You smelled of sun cream, sticky and sweet; of warm peaches and coming of age. The sun illuminated you like a God, bronze and lithe, and I had wanted to get endlessly lost in the hollows of your skin as we lay side by side next to the lake.
I remember it all. The mountains in the distance. The trees reaching up to the cloudless, brooding sky, praying. The hot wooden jetty that made us dance and hop and curse on the run up to the water, holding hands and diving in, again and again. Laughing, wrapping limbs around one another; too in love to let go.
Near us a brother and sister had squealed with delight, jumping recklessly into the water as if for the first time in their lives, arms spread out like wings as they flew from the jetty. Your eyelashes cast shadows on your cheeks as you squinted into the sun and said, “That could be us and our children one day”. I never wanted that moment to end. My sunburned skin tingled as the air turned cool but we stayed in that lake til sundown.
Eventually, like that Summer and the marks it left, you came and went - silently at first. Then screaming. Then hot, salty tears and burning throats at Midnight. I married someone else. But I still long for the days of that stifling Summer in Italy.