Roman Holidaze

Having arrived in Rome at night we didn't see much. Our fountain trip and dinner was close to 10pm at night. The next day was our first full experience of Rome. No more running into places and stumbling into things. Now we were trekking the unknown parts of the city and planning our remaining days. She again was the leader on this journey and I simply followed. This time I had plans of my own. I was well equipped with Italian sayings saved on my phone, maps of places I wanted to go and images of the hidden treasures I needed to see. Inevitably, we separated and not in a good way but it was for the best. This way she got to keep aimlessly walking and I zeroed in on the places I'd dreamed of. 

We started the morning with an awkward breakfast. The hotel had carved out a one way out cave in its lobby for diners. This room was sweltering by the time things were in full gear. A cavern with an old expresso machine, a full kitchen and hungry diners is bound to get hot. The odd part about it is no one really complained and it was sort of quaint. There were all the comforts of a quick, Italian breakfast - high end cured meats, cheeses, thick danish, toast and sweet orange juice. There were two alternating servers who would make coffee per request. We left with full stomachs and headed through the nearby plaza to all the statues and less famous fountains. In this, I kept up the hill and noticed things as we passed by like the national museum and ATMs. Soon we were nearest to a downtown of sorts filled will shops and carts. We finally stopped for a drink at a supermarket. There we played the game of reaching to the far back for the coldest Coke. Sadly, they were all warm forcing us to think about alternatives. At one point we found a cart full of fresh fruit, cold drinks and ice. The woman even had a magical stand that rained ice water down on slithers of coconut. I encouraged her to get one to cool herself off. Sadly, once purchased and down the street a bit even that was warm. I guess the oasis waterfall was nothing more of an optical illusion/false advertising.

I'd mentioned how I wanted to see The Ecstasy of Saint Therese - the major sculpture housed inside a local church. I explained that it could be in one of many churches considering most of them all had the same name of St.Maria. She never told me she knew of it or could find it she just asked me to follow her on this journey. Soon we arrived at a major intersection and crossed to a large church. Just outside of the doors we were harassed by some survey people. Barely inside we were approached by a gypsy child begging for money. Then just inside the main hall an older gentlemen got our attention. He was sitting at a table housing colorful shawls. He simply pointed at us. We'd already known about the covered limbs rules but now it was being enforced. Those eager to enter not appropriately dressed would have to donate money to receive a shawl for cover. What was unclear was if the shawl was a token of appreciation or meant to be returned? Inside she began taking pictures and I was mortified. She'd done it before, I'd already expressed how I didn't care for it but here it was more obvious to me than ever she didn't care what anyone thought. She was so busy snapping photos she forgot I was even there. Within the church walls I scoured from alcove to nook to alter looking for St.Therese and she was nowhere. I felt mislead that we'd walked all this way for nothing.

Something told me the man who had scorned us could tell me where St.Therese was. I was able to say excuse me in Italian and then show him the pictures on my phone. What ensued was a physical pictionary game of where exactly the saint was. Finally, she came over and I explained with great confidence that she wasn't in that particular church but down the street, over the white building which means behind in Italian and inside the other St.Maria church. She kindly walked with me that direction only to find the church closed. She then went into the biggest sneezing fit ever and asked could we just stop for a moment. Now I hadn't lead her on this wild goose chase, she did. I simply wrapped the quest up and now we were stuck. I suggested we just go back to the hotel and wait out the re-opening. She popped an antihistamine and asked that we go to a park. Yeah so I agreed to the nonsense and sure enough we walked about three miles to nearby Villa Borghese. I had already known the park bordered an affluent area nearest to our hotel. What I didn't know is that it was nearly 150 acres. Getting there wasn't too bad because we were constantly romanced by the city. We were reaching stunning elevations and the sites were incredible. There were olive, orange and tomato trees and everything combined in the air. All the people down below were ants and everything was so quiet in comparison to the city center. We'd bought some horrible bottled water and found a watering hole where people were getting free water. This was our first introduction to Roman plumbing and we quickly threw out our expensive water in lieu of the ice cold free stuff. 

Once inside the park there were so many ways to go about it. There were bicycles, tour groups etc but of course she wanted to walk. There were multiple levels too. You could go downstairs and hills closest to street level or continue on the highest elevation. There were fountains and ponds where people rested. Some sun bathed and picnicked while others dipped their feet in the pools of cool water. We continued walking silently running into statues, monuments and structures until there was nothing but dirt, rocks and stone pine trees. Then all of a sudden the clouds dropped low and it began to rain. There was no place to hide but under the trees. Everyone in the park took there rightful place sharing whatever around as shelter. I ran under a pavilion and she sat on a bench. We stayed like that for nearly twenty minutes. My hair was pinned up so I wasn't too upset about it. She acted as if the rain was acid. I kept encouraging her to keep walking because not only was the park unimaginably broad but very hot. I was melting and really wanted to get back to our hotel. She finally took my word for it but the rain was not getting any better. It pretty much pelted us on the way back and cleared just as we exited the park. So then we faced walking past the art house cinema, all the four star hotels and decent restaurants sweaty and disgusting.

In going back to the hotel I expected for us to freshen up and go back out to see St.Therese. It wasn't anything I really wanted to share but I felt she had helped to go find her so she should come see her. Once in the hotel it was a different story. Our hotel room had been cleaned. We had some unspoken rule about not letting anyone in our room. We hid things like our passport, cameras, cash but I often left my laptop under the pillows or she would change bags and leave one out. So once inside our belongings were obviously moved and things were placed so that the room could be cleaned. She immediately accused me of changing the do not disturb sign to please clean our room. The odd part is she was the only person with a key and the last to leave. Clearly upon exiting she herself placed the card on wrong but in the moment I took all the blame. So while I was trying to get myself ready to go back out she was scrambling to see if her passport or money was taken. Honestly, I was over it but she clearly wasn't and started a major argument. This lead to me getting my own room key which really should have been offered when we arrived. However, she controlled everything so I didn't bother. The moment she hastily walked down to get me a key is the moment I just wanted to leave. So I did.

I found myself a few blocks down from the hotel. I had on no sunscreen. I'd forgotten sunglasses. I also had on my room flip-flops - ones I exclusively wore indoors. I pretty much just walked out in sheer anger. For a while I walked aimlessly. I went the same direction we had gone earlier. I went to the same supermarket and searched for a cold Coke. I crossed by the same church where I'd met the man. I followed his instructions back to St.Therese. I then waited until they opened the doors. Almost first inside I walked in and cried to her. I then quickly exited and stood out front. This time I took an unknown way back to the hotel realizing we were much closer than we thought. She was right around the corner from us. In walking back I passed the U.S. Embassy and wanted to run to its gates and beg to go home. In all honestly, after seeing Therese that was all I needed. I then looked up and saw a hotel entitled Excelsior. This gave me great faith that I could get over the bullshit and go back without issue. Once back she wasn't even there. Then iMessage was down so I couldn't talk to anyone let alone find out where she was. So for the first time ever I just laid back and took it all in.

Honestly, this was the first time I audibly said our friendship was over. When I finally got my phone to work I'd messaged my mother about how incredibly mean and insensitive she had been. I was then able to see how she'd transferred her sentiments about me to some petty Facebook post. It was in that moment I deleted her from every social network I owned. This move is whats considered the formal demise of a friendship and truly it was. I felt that if she had anything to say or blame me for she could easily come back and tell me. She opted to be a shitty person and I still don't know why. I also thought that maybe she had went after me and possibly was in the church to see me cry. Later I realized she was never interested in seeing anything I wanted. So much so she went on her own personal excursion just to spite me but later complained that I'd prevented her from seeing what she wanted. When she came back, I told her she'd interrupted my nap and all I wanted was to eat and be left alone. The reality is we were in Rome - a very mystical, spiritual and renewing place. There just wasn't any room for subliminals and digs. So just like I'd owned the rest of my day, I planned to own the remainder of the night and she didn't have any say anymore. 

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