Have you ever bumped into an old love? Someone you spent nights talking to and dreaming with but that at some point you had to leave, because he wasn’t right for you? Do you remember the heartbreaking moment when you knew you had to move on and still it felt so good staying still? You picked up all the courage and braveness and strength you had, hidden somewhere between idealized early memories and everyday dullness and left. At first you were relieved, felt safe as you can only feel when you know you did the right thing. You actually moved on, saw people, went places. Then one day, years – centuries! – later you take the trash out and ta-daaaa he’s there. Staring at you. And you can’t remember anymore why he was wrong but just feel the sudden impulse to indulge a little bit longer in that wrongness.
Well, I have been to Rome these past few days and felt exactly like that. For the first time in almost 20 years I missed it. I couldn’t remember anymore why I hated it or why I was so certain it was all wrong for me. I could only see the overwhelming beauty of every single corner, the utterly simple and delicious food, the yellowish light that warmed up everyone and everything in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to stay there, indulge in the thousand little pleasures I thought I was immune to and lose myself into the Pantheon, looking at the magic hole in the ceiling, every single day. It was like going to dinner with an old love: time and distance sublimate everything, and you fall in love all over again.
Had I to live there again, I know I would hate it. But it’s always nice to have an old boyfriend you think you could go back to.