We Went to Rome, and I Found Something I Wasn’t Expecting

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At one point in time, not so long ago, I had planned to start writing daily, but I couldn’t bring myself to focus on Infinite Diaries as much as I wanted to. Part of the reason behind this was that I was depressed after both my parents succumbed to cancer in March and April of this year, just 20 days apart. Actually that’s probably the main reason, with laziness being the other. Or lack of motivation perhaps. Nevertheless, I wasn’t doing what I had been planning to do for the past year. And then I went to Rome …

My wife got me an amazing gift a few months ago, soon after my loss. She got us tickets to a Ludovico Einaudi concert. Mr. Ludovico was holding a performance in the capital of Italy, at the Baths of Caracalla. I’ve been a fan of his for a few years now and my expectations were immense—Mr. Einaudi did not disappoint. His performance was stellar, with the ruins of the Baths only adding to the surreal atmosphere. At one point during the evening I just shut my eyes to focus on the music, and I fell into a sort of trance. I am unable to accurately communicate the journey he took us on with words alone, but this was most assuredly the most fantastic display of musical genius that I have ever experienced.

However, since we were in Rome for a few days—we extended our stay for a total of five days of sightseeing—we braved the high temperatures and explored the city, visiting landmarks which we haven’t seen before and returning to the ones that had an impact on our emotions.

Despite being in the most beautiful city in the world1, I couldn’t stop thinking about my parents. I’d have random thoughts about them every few minutes, whenever I wasn’t talking to Iwona or focusing on the surrounding beauty. In fact, they have been constantly present in my thoughts since March.

One evening, when the temperature dropped to an acceptable 26 degrees Celsius, we went out for dinner to a small place called Trattoria da Luigi, right next to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, on Piazza Sforza Cessarini. We had the lasagne and spaghetti with clams—both perfectly prepared—along with a few glasses of wine. It was a very pleasant evening, and while talking, we noticed an Italian gentleman take a spot on a bench in the Piazza. He took out a tenor saxophone and began his preparations. Since this took him a while, we got back to our discussions regarding our plans for the next day, but before we did, and while we were watching him set up, I started thinking about my parents again. I asked Iwona whether she had any idea when I would stop constantly thinking about them. She of course didn’t have a clue, but we started discussing the subject anyway. I’m pretty sure that less than a minute passed, and suddenly the Italian saxophonist launched into his performance with “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. This was both my parents favourite song, which they wanted to be played at their funerals.

I’m not a very religious man, nor do I believe in superstitions2, but how am I expected to believe this was pure coincidence? Iwona immediately said that that’s their way of letting me know that they’re fine, and that I shouldn’t worry about them so much.

And I believe her.

Thank you Rome, thank you Mr. Italian-Saxophone-Player—you put my mind at rest.

  1. My very personal opinion.
  2. Apart from one: I have to first stand on my right foot when getting out of bed. If I don’t, I have to lie down again for five to ten minutes.

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