February 18, 2011

Rome. November, 1984

Oh, the people who sometimes drift into our lives, offering the pleasure of their company, and then drift out, never to be heard from again. I met Jonathan in Catania when we were both traveling solo through Sicily. I’d seen him in a piazza, reading the Let’s Go guide (as I was), and struck up a conversation. He was from San Francisco, had an aunt who lived near me in Massachusetts, had no real agenda or plans. We met for dinner that night (pasta alla Norma, pesce spada alla griglia) and went to Siracusa the next day, touring the old city, the caves, the ancient anfiteatro, the alleyways that gave onto the “wine dark” Ionian sea. From there, we followed different paths but connected again a week later in Rome, where his “no plans” approach to travel added a welcome italiano flexibility to my more scheduled routine. Here at the Campidoglio, the hand of an ancient colossus provided all the direction he seemed to need. Before long, I headed home, he headed who knows where. A moment, a lovely few days spent, more than 25 years ago.

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