I got kissed by the sun once.
Or so that’s what Grammy said, with her hands on the steering wheel and her eyes on me through the rearview mirror. She was freckled, too, and perhaps not with the same white freckle I found on my cheek, but with dozens of bronze spots, like beauty marks, on her shoulders and running down her arms. They were everywhere.
They showed on her skin when she watered her garden, or when she walked her dog. I saw them when she filled the hummingbird feeder and read her books. They made her Grammy, a cautious woman with a love for the light, basking in the sunshine almost every time I’d seen her.
I’d heard the way my aunt Bobbi used to scrub at her nose for hours on end, trying to erase them as if they weren’t a part of her. She’d never been successful, though, in cleansing her skin of the sun’s touch.
When I thought of summer, I thought of delicate flowers, light copper spots on skin, and one very special white dot. She thought of raw cheeks and shame. I never learned why, not truly, and I wasn’t sure what made us so different.
I’d been told how precious they were, how beautiful and lucky and rare I’d been, but I didn’t understand how much they meant, not until I was older and watching them fade in the winter chill, and when summer came, I wondered if the sun would ever bless me again with another white dot, so tiny and fragile and small but pure and loved, welcome to meet me, and greet me, and tell me hello.
It never happened. The sun never kissed me again, but I wonder now, if I think of her one day, with a good book in my hands, poolside in the sun with my grandchildren playing in the water, or even with a watering can in my grip and a million flowers at my feet, will the sun kiss again? Will it be her mark again? And when I’m finally wise enough to share what I’ve spent so long learning, can I meet a child’s eyes, a girl like me, and tell her, that’s a kiss from the sun.