Night Train to Florence
By Gabriella West
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Liz and I were both studying Italian at an Irish university in the mid-’80s, which is why we found ourselves together one late summer afternoon on the streets of Milan, hurrying toward the train station (which our guidebook told us was a monument of fascist architecture) to catch the train back to Florence. Then something unexpected caught our attention. On a sunny, deserted street, two girls in dresses were throwing a Frisbee back and forth almost dreamily. They were pretty girls with long hair who smiled at each other; they were our age, 18, 19, and seemed curiously absorbed in their game. Liz and I stood and watched them, astonished. Liz was not good at pausing—it was not natural for her to watch others with interest and without expectation—but I liked to shape stories in my head, and by the time we had reached the end of the street I'd convinced myself that what I had just seen was so strangely unreal that if I looked back, the girls would have vanished.