Another year older and I should have grown up a long time ago. S calls me before anyone else, from her aunt's house in Florence. She sounds hysterical but happy and I miss her a lot more than she misses me.
For my twelfth birthday mother gave me a signed copy of The Sun Also Rises. It was one of those rare times she didn't try to buy my loyalty with designer clothes and credit cards, and probably the only time her gifts actually meant something. My father had read it to me that summer on the beaches near Antibes where we had our last fleeting moments of happiness together, just the three of us.
September kept closing in on our family and I didn't know then that the people I loved the most would all soon become ghosts to me, alive or dead, near or on other sides of the planet. They were all just trying to escape and I learned much later that the one thing you can never really run away from is yourself.