I'm only 15-tall, skinny and awkward, long dark hair with golden highlights from the sun, wide brown eyes wearing spaghetti strap, short tank dresses that show off my legs and sandals that tie around my ankles. Short, unpolished fingernails, pink lip gloss and tanned skin. I have a reprieve from my summer language camp and find myself in Naples with a much older boy(20) who talks about music and keeps giving me tapes to listen to in my Sony Walkman. He has an apartment rental for a few weeks and our conversations are long and spirited-he’s practicing his English with me and I am still a shy introvert. While he speaks passionately about Japanese art and Husker Du, I stare at his eyes and think about how no one in my family has eyes like these and they seem like a revelation, like pots of blue paint from a painting, or from the blue sea nearby. Something about his blue eyes and the fact that he's Dutch keep returning my thoughts to Van Gogh's Starry Night. He has huge hands with the softest skin and long, fat, smooth fingers not adorned with any jewelry.

The first day we have coffees with lots of sugar and walk everywhere around town while worn and angry men stare and old women dressed in black shake their heads. My feet hurt and legs ache from all of the walking but he is fine company and teaches me things even I was not aware of in the city and he grants me time within a few churches with blue stained glass like his eyes even though he tells me he's a lapsed Catholic. At the end of our first day together, he walks me back to the dorms, as I am ferociously hungry, and awkwardly gives me a hug goodbye where I inhale his earthy scent deeply as our sweat mixes like paintbrushes upon our cheeks.

The next day we have bread and chocolate and coffee and head to the beach. He always seems to be smiling and interested in everything he passes and finds an appreciation in even the smallest of details. He is tall with dirty blonde hair and long, muscular legs. He has very round lips. He is much more comfortable than I am walking around a foreign city even though I know enough Italian to get by. We walk together down the circling, cobbled roads, passing Vespas and tiny cars and smelly animals and pizza shops keeping a distance of a foot or two apart.

When we get to the beach he is not shy about his body and takes his shirt off quickly to reveal light skin to my dark skin. It's almost pink. I'm wearing a black one piece bathing suit that ties around my neck and am insecure for the first time ever in it. He stares at me while I take my dress off over my head and lay down on the thin towel on the rocky, shell filled beach. We both lay on our backs and listen to our Walkmen and close our eyes. He taps my shoulder and asks me if I want to swim and I agree and we hide our Walkmen under the rocks and slowly walk into the calm, cool blue water. I'm at his side but a few feet away dodging small, dark skinned children and floating seaweed. Once we get deep enough, it is just the two of us, upright, swimming and we are looking at one another and the waves are pulling us closer together. Wave after wave rocks us together and we decide to lay on our backs and float. The salt water stings my eyes so I close them. The waves push our floating bodies into one another again and we both swim upright this time and smile at one another quietly. I swim back to shore and lay on my stomach, not sure if I can look him in the eyes when he comes back to our towels. I don't care that my butt will be sticking up in the air to greet him when he gets back to our towels.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asks after walking out of the water and standing above my towel. Stunned by the question, I say "No." I ask him if he has a girlfriend and he waits and then answers, "No." We both put on our Walkmen again so we don't have to talk anymore and let the sun warm our skin and lull us into an afternoon nap. When our stomachs start growling, he taps me on the shoulder again and says, "lets go back into town and eat" and we roll up our towels into our backpacks, put our clothes on over our swim suits and our sandals back on our feet. As we walk up hill into town, the city is coming alive with families and tourists looking for wine and dinner. There are musicians dressed in folk wear standing outside and beckoning us to walk into their establishment. We pass them. He's a fast walker, even up hill and he grabs my hand in the crowd to keep me close to him.

He asks me if I like the tape I've been listening to all day. I say yes, and tell him that the Smiths always play at a dance club I go to in Chicago. I tell him it's a "juice bar" called Medusa's so I'm allowed to go and that it closes before curfew. I ask him if he likes the Sade I have given him and he says yes, and I warn him that I listen to Diamond Life every night before I fall asleep at home, so it might put him to sleep, too. He leads us into a pizza parlor and we each buy a slice of pizza for a few lire. He is brave and orders a red wine and I have s few sips. He asks me if I want more. It's dark now, and he walks me back to the dorms and we stand in the vestibule outside of the entrance gate to the school, which is barley lit by gaslights leaving faint shadows on the cobblestone street in front. I thank him for the day and for the music and take the tape out of my Walkman and hand it to him. He holds the tape in his hands and just stares at me and I try to look away as I can't seem to make any words come out of my mouth. My mouth is so dry that I can't even lick my lips once before he leans over and kisses me. He grabs me by the sunburned shoulders and pushes his tongue into my mouth. I'm not sure what to do, so I open my mouth and touch his tongue with mine gently and begin to circle my tongue around his. I think this is what I am supposed to do but I'm not sure and I lean into him as he grabs my upper body in his arms and holds me like that while he slows down his kisses and even kisses my cheeks and my nose and my forehead and hair and shoulders and I am letting him. He pushes his pelvis into my thin dress and I feel that he is hard and I am utterly dumbfounded as to what to do next as my stomach feels like I am falling down an elevator shaft and that I might fall over. I push his chest backwards and he looks at me worried he might have done something wrong and completely aware and slightly embarrassed that his body has betrayed him and afraid I may be scared of him now. We both catch our breath and I open the gate and close it behind me and say goodnight.

I spend the rest of the night in my dorm bed tossing and turning and feeling that sensation of his lips and his tongue and his hard on over and over and over again as if it is happening over and over and over again and I notice that I want to feel those feelings again because they feel so good - he feels so good - and my body wants more of his body and I am unsure if my body has betrayed me too and therefore he shouldn't be embarrassed but I am unsure if I will ever see him again, but at least I will be able to go back home to Chicago having kissed a boy - a northern European boy who looks and talks and acts like no one I have ever met before and who makes me want to know more about him and listen to him tell me about all of the things in the world that mean something to him - whether its music or soccer or art or movies or food - things he loves - and I wonder if I could ever be one of the things he loves, because I want to be one of the things that he loves.

The next day I start to pack my luggage for my trip back home. I have coffee on campus and write in my diary all about the boy I have met in Naples. I can't stop writing about him. I giggle to myself in the corner of the veranda of the school writing about him and I wonder if anyone thinks I look ridiculous giggling to myself. When I leave the dorms for lunch in town and to buy souvenirs for my family, another Dutch Boy is standing by the gate and he asks me if I am Catherine, the Aquarius girl from Chicago and I say yes and the boy, Frank, tells me that he's Mateo's friend from home and that he wanted to ask me to go to their party at their apartment later that night. Some of their friends from school will be in town and there will be beer and wine and music. "Will you promise to come?" he asks, and I tell him I am leaving in two days for home and that I might have something to do at the school before I go but that I'll try, and he writes down where to go and laughs and says something in Dutch and leaves down hill on a bicycle.

I take a bath at the dorm and put on a white dress and a headband to hold back my long hair and my sandals. I decide it is safe for me to go to the party. It's still early in the evening and I am much safer with a group of Dutch boys than a group of local Italians. I would like to see Mateo once more. Even if it is just so that I can have his address to send him letters. I love to write letters and I wonder if he loves to write letters, too. He doesn't even know this about me yet. I find the building in town and walk up two flights of stairs to the apartment. The street is bustling outside the balcony and music is blasting- Depeche Mode. I get up to the apartment which has two giant rooms with beds, a bathroom and the balcony. I am the only girl in a room filled with 15 college aged boys drinking Pilsners and I do wonder if I should be worried and turn around and leave. I start to walk toward the balcony as I don't see Mateo in the bedroom and then chicken out and turn around. Before I make it all the way out the door, his friend Frank stops me and says something in Dutch and then in English, "No, you can't go! You just got here. Mateo, Mateo!" and then I hear more Dutch which I am clueless in deciphering.

Frank leads me by my arm out onto the balcony where five tall Dutch boys are smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and talking loudly. "She's here!" Frank yells and I see Mateo, leaning over the balcony, smile widely and say" hello!" "hello" I say back. Mateo says something else to his friends in Dutch, as does Frank and the boys leave the balcony, laughing. It is just Mateo and I standing on the balcony looking onto the busy street below. "I'm leaving soon" I tell Mateo, "May I have your address? You know, to send you a letter?" "Yes, yes, of course" Mateo answers, just let me find a pen and paper. He rushes off the balcony, leaving me there alone with my back turned to the apartment before he taps me on the shoulder yet again. "Here" he says, "And may I have yours? Just in case?" Then I write my address down and smile back at him. No one has ever asked me for MY address before. Will I be getting my hopes up to think that he'll write me back?

He hands me a glass of red wine and I drink it quickly. I'm nervous and don't realize I should just sip it slowly. "Do you like this music?" he asks and I say, "Yes, I went to see them in March" and there was hardly anyone there at the concert. Now they're number one on the charts. They play on the radio every single day. I may have liked them more when they were a little less popular." Mateo laughs. Frank walks onto the balcony and starts speaking to Mateo in Dutch again. "We're going to the beach!" he says and "Be back later!" and pushes Mateo in the chest. Within seconds the music is turned down low and we are the only people left in the apartment. I drink more wine and we sit on the floor of the balcony in our bare feet and tell one another about what we love and what we want to see and do in our lives. There is so much excitement and naïve confidence, but excitement and passion, nevertheless.

I have three more glasses of wine and Mateo has three more Pilsners and the music turns slow and calm. It's my Sade tape. This makes me happy. Mateo says "Excuse me" and goes inside the apartment. I slowly bring myself up from the floor of the balcony and venture inside the apartment. I call his name. "Mateo?" and walk the perimeter of the apartment, unknowingly passing the bathroom which has the door open where I see Mateo standing with his short pants pulled down slightly and his appendage in his hands, "Oh, no!' I think and tiptoe, red faced, back to the balcony.

I stand inside the apartment just behind the open balcony doors, unsure of what to do.

Mateo taps me on the shoulder, yet again, and this time, when I turn around, he starts kissing me with a hunger and I am happy about this as I am hungry for him too, something deep down is so hungry for this young Dutch boy, with his spy novels and Rolling Stone magazines and dozens of mix tapes, and giant toes and hands and appendage, and we learn how to kiss and we learn how to kiss one another and its ok that he pushes himself hard into my dress up against the wall of the balcony and I run my hands all over his warm and muscular body and grab and pull on his long hair and I feel like I have a fever, in the hot summer heat of the southern Italian night, and I don't want him to stop and I feel pulled into him more than with just my body but with my guts and now I feel my heart soar and see in his blue sea eyes and brave smile that his heart is also soaring, and that we are still floating as we were in the sea water but floating together off the floor and feeling lighter than air, we are soaring so high with happiness and desire.

I want more and he wants more and our blue and brown eyes are red and tearing with exhaustion and happiness and the release of two young people who have found one another in a big, giant world.

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