• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 03
Image by

Notizie Portando

We were in Rome, sitting on the banks of the famous River Tiber. A couple started smooching, and we watched them briefly, half embarrassed at their display.
‘Isn't this romantic?’ he said, taking my hand. I noticed a piece of toilet paper had glued itself to a tree; seems the river that runs through Rome always brings news. I was thinking about mentioning that I was breaking up with him; but it never seemed the right time—the sun was too exultant, the place reeked of melodrama—I needed to tell him from behind the stoic Vatican Wall, then he couldn't get to me, couldn't change my mind, couldn't make a scene. We visited endless houses of religion, where all conversation became confession—but it didn't seem appropriate to tell him in a place where people believed in something higher, something heavenly. The Vatican museum, and all its ancient possessions made my feet ache. He told me I looked glum—how could I not when standing in front of Michaelangelo’s Pietà? It was the only way to feel around such an expression of sadness. I knew I should tell him soon; put him out of my misery. The only time I smiled was standing in St.Peter’s square when the bells were rung. He said, at that moment, I was most happy and child-like. This was only because bells bring good news, and I imagined men in dresses leaping like fleas—that's got to be worth a small, brief moment of mirth.


Notizie Portando

‘It’s not going to work—us.’ I eventually told him outside some parched, rundown zoo. We sat on the steps and talked frankly—he told me that he felt the same way. Is it possible that someone can fall in love six inches away from splitting up? Now everything had savor; we ate lush blood oranges in the Circus Maximus, he stole a marmalade orange from a tree in the Forum—so the local men chased us. We got drunk on some cheap Italian plonk, and feared walking past two policemen on motorbikes; it must be a crime to be so much in love. That was when we agreed that Rome should be experienced sober. This we swore to ourselves, it was to be our new rule. So we ate like paupers; dry bread, cheese, and oranges, because Rome is too greasy, too rich; some things have to stay outside; the palate has to be cleaned every now and then. Hand in hand, we walked down the Appian way, all the way to the Catacombs, I remember a sign outside that told us to dress appropriately—so we were careful not to look into each others eyes. You could lose yourself down there.