i couldn't see it, no matter how hard i pressed my eye against the keyhole, but last night the door swung open and on the other side was rome.
the temperature plummeted to 75 degrees, charismatic natives shivered in perfectly wrapped scarves. brides in sugar-spun dreams were photographed and every ruin, every monument was their backdrop. a birthday celebration, an outdoor cafe, aperitivi. children ran riot (my son amongst them), playing tag, dodging patrons, behaving in a way that, in my homeland, would be cause to ask you to leave. but strangers smiled indulgently, the children were sweaty and happy and heavily praised. the meal for which i longed was served. the americans swapped stories of italy's quirks, we all agreed that clothes dryers were a necessity. tiny dogs barked at goliath counterparts, bread was shaped like mermaids. i had stopped seeing the coliseum, the baths of caracalla, but lit up against the night, they suddenly reappeared. it was all there. all of rome.