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We’re wandering through a small museum in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, Argentina. The docent, mid-forties, is about as fluent in English as we are in Spanish. We connect, though, and find ourselves sitting together on a bench among the exhibits. Her name is Giulia.

“I am Italian,” she says. “We moved here from Italy when I was fourteen. In high school I had a crush on a Patagonian boy, Roberto . . . a nice boy. Oh, he was handsome, and good. My mother found out, and scolded me. She said no daughter of hers would have anything to do with a ‘Patagonian boy’. She made us move away—the whole family—to Trelew.

“I never saw him again. It broke my heart.”

Giulia survived. She married an Argentinian of Italian descent. She got a job. She had children. But the marriage fell apart. She divorced him. Life went on.

“One day I was Face-booking, and I wondered about Roberto,” she says. “I looked him. And found his name. And sent him a hello with an ask to be my friend.

“Oh my, he wrote me. He said his wife had died, and he remembered me well.

“We were friends still, after all those years,” she says. She’s grinning now. “He’s now my husband. We moved back to Puerto Madryn. Life is good, yes?”

—Terry Marshall

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