Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One Week in Rome

The week we were in Rome, each morning we walked up to the hotel's rooftop deck, where we sat and ate croissants. I drank a cappuccino each morning and E drank orange juice. The sun beat down, hot, but I didn’t mind at all.

Afterward, we’d circle down the steps, and head out to the street.

Everything was ahead of us.

I don't remember the name of the hotel. But I remember that rooftop, and swirling my sugar into my foamy cappuccino each morning, and the way crumbs from the croissants flaked all over the table.

I’d look over E’s shoulder, and at the city, and think, Remember this.

The most wonderful part of it all is that I do.

I thought about this today as I stared out the window during a work department meeting. I could barely hear anything that was being said; I wanted nothing more than to be far away. I thought about this one week in Rome, now six years ago, and how so often, the things we expect to happen, that we might even plan to happen, don’t.

Today, instead of looking at Rome from the top of a hotel whose name I don’t remember, I looked out at the Chicago River, Navy Pier, and the shadows each beautiful building cast over the next. From the 27th floor, the traffic crossing Michigan Avenue seemed to be moving in slow motion. I could see the tops of heads in the boats on the river, and people crossing the bridge. Lake Michigan stretched out in the distance. It wasn't Italy. But it was something, and suddenly I didn't mind being exactly where I was: sitting perched uncomfortably on a windowsill in a meeting where I could barely hear anything.

Six years from now, I won’t remember a word that was said in this meeting, and it won’t matter at all. But it's a safe bet I might remember looking out the window, and thinking, and day dreaming, and the way a city can be so beautiful when you really look at it.

It’s good to remember, but it’s even more wonderful to be present.

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