My Rome: Still a Classic Beauty

Jun 05, 2017 620


A few hours after landing in Rome, I crossed the Tiber River toward Trastevere, the neighborhood where I lived more than 15 years ago. The river still slithered with reflections of orange lamppost light that reminded me of dragon scales. A familiar cacophony of droning scooters, clanging plates and stray laughter hit me as I skirted the dinner crowd angling for a seat at Trattoria Da Enzo. The gravity of past destinations pulled me around familiar corners and brought me to my old apartment building next to Santa Cecilia, the centuries-old church and convent. All was as I had left it. And now I wanted to leave it.

Unlike the tourists shooting postcard pictures in the magic-hour light, I looked up at the windows, dark as dead iPhones, and remembered living here with an anarchist punk-rock guitarist who, upon getting a dog, graduated to a bona fide punkabestia (more or less, “punk with beast”). The dog was not house trained, but after a day of pounding Peronis, neither, really, was my roommate. His fights with his girlfriend wrought havoc on our dishware, and the vagabonds screaming Roman threats outside, demanding the money he owed them, invaded my dreams. Don’t get me wrong: I was by no means Santa Cecilia material, but I knew that I was out of my deprivation depth. The time had come to move on.

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