“Do you like toes?” Maggy watched appraisingly as Agostino boggled at her question. “Toes, Bambina?” He glanced down at the girl’s bare feet, where she wiggled her toes in the sand, and he fought a smile. “A lady was here who wouldn’t dig because she had ‘just had her toes done’…” she mimicked the woman’s apparent objection. “And she had a date. I thought maybe boys liked toes.” At this, Agostino chuckled. “I suppose that men all have different tastes. And a woman’s toes are no less beautiful than the rest of her.” Maggie looked down at her toes thoughtfully and back up to him. “Besides,” he continued, “toes are important. To help get you where you are going, and to wiggle in the sand.” Maggy blushed, and instantly her toes ceased wiggling. Agostino laughed. The night wind tousled the young girl’s pale flaxen hair as she scrambled to change the subject. “Why do you wander?” She tilted her head, waiting for his response, but he sensed another question just beneath the surface, ready for rapid fire. Agostino looked up at the sphere of stars above them. “It is what I was meant for, Bella.” “How do you know what you’re meant to do?” She watched him expectantly as his darkened gaze lowered to hers. “Sometimes it is the only thing in the world that seems right. It feels unnatural to do anything else.” Maggy looked up to the stars then, too. “It’s peaceful out here. A good place to think.” Half smiling, he watched her gaze lift skyward. Nine years hence, he still looked for his Oriana in every face he saw. And he found her, again and again. In a glance, in the tilt of a head, or the peak of a brow. Or in the wide, wondering eyes of a child as they raked over night’s cloak above them. “What do you think about out here, Maggy?” She answered softly, without looking away from the stars. “Everything. You can talk to the stars, but they don’t always answer.” “Sometimes, Bambina, they send a gypsy with their answer.” Agostino rose and dusted off the sand as she lowered her gaze to watch him again. “See you again sometime?” Her toes had begun wiggling again in the sand. “Si, certain so. Be well, Maggy.” Agostino smiled warmly and lowered his head. Several yards down the beach, he heard her soft voice call after him. “Agostino. I don’t think I want to paint my toes.” Grinning to himself, he glanced back over his shoulder. “Excellente. They are perfect the way they are.” She smiled too, and skipped off down the beach in the other direction with a piece of pottery she had unearthed in the sand. A sweet child, he thought. Perhaps it is not yet unheard-of to find treasures in the sand.