Knowing you tastes like pennies. Cotton fingers and silken arms. I remember your temper, which would flare up out of the blue and how you refused to talk to anyone then. What you’d call sulking. Where coaxing you out of it wouldn’t work. The people I brought over knew nothing about how to shine. The girl with her dogwhine of a voice and the bright blue pineapple dress. And I remember how I sat next to your feet and you immediately pulled your toes in, away from me. You wouldn’t let me hold you or your hand and sat with your blank expression, with your toes curled up under you. My attempts at getting you to laugh it off always went disastrously. You’d invariably shoot me this look of contempt and indifference. Anybody would wither under it. You refused to let me kiss you or undress you. I remember you sitting there, on the white bedspread, in the middle of the largest sunbeam on the bed. Your fingertips, absentmindedly, kept grazing the bedspread and I began to despair. I wanted nothing more in the world than for you to talk to me and to not be this way. You obviously could sense my condition and need for you but chose to ignore it. Most clearly, I remember thinking how much I love this teenaged girl, who isn’t only so much younger than me but also always behind this invisible shield, where nobody could quite reach you properly or really know what you were thinking or wanted. I remember pitying myself and feeling foolish for being so far away from home, in this extremely hot country, living in this tiny studio apartment where most of my time was spent waiting for you to show up or call me.
Just as simply as you decided that you were going to sulk you decided that you were done sulking. Out of the blue you were smiling at me again. That feels quite like nothing on this planet. It’s like the sun shining only on you, right as it comes out from behind a black cloud. You were sitting there, with one leg casually resting against my knee and you were the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen. You were so together, reading the newspaper and asking me about my mother. That was one of the moments where I knew my being there just to spend more time with you was the only thing I could have done. Once I left I’d never get to go back to that place with you again. You were incredibly young and unspoiled. Gradually you’d move on with your life and you’d never really get what that summer with you meant.