Wednesday, June 18, 2003

It is 11:45 in the evening. The sun has long since gone to bed, and the temperature outside is now a quite comfortable seventy degrees or so. A soft breeze blows across your face. Above you, the rain clouds of this afternoon have long since gone. Behind you, traffic breezes by effortlessly, and, at times, nearly silently. Ahead of you, and to your right, a group of teenagers sits at the base of a tree, chatting. To your left, a young couple sits, arms around each other, enjoying the view. In front of you is the Arc of Constantine, but you're not looking at that. Instead, your looking at the same thing the couple is. Your head is cocked back, attempting to take it all in: the air, the traffic, the smell, the sound. Your friends are immediately to your right, engaged in a conversation you don't hear. You're in the moment. You think of a friend, someone you've traveled with before, someone you've known for fifteen years, but whom you haven't spoken with since the last day the two of you worked together, one week before you left. You have your cell phone with you, because a new friend said he might call and join you for dinner. You take it out and look at the time. It shows that the time back home is 4:48 pm. The only number you know offhand is your friend's office number, and he's probably long since left. You call anyway, and leave a message.

You tell him how beautiful the night is. You tell him what a lovely city Rome is, and how much you are enjoying being there, but how you wish he could be here too, enjoying a cocktail with you like when you both were in college, and the world was young. You describe the scene and then tell him what you are doing.

You're looking straight up at the Colusseum. And everything is all right in the world tonight.

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