From memories in Roma, sitting next to Fiume Tevere
kaleidoscope of memories twirl in your presence
the underlying strength of your current takes over my thoughts
morning alarm clocks, abrupt awakenings, running to catch the bus, chest rising up and down. It’s only 6:30 am, but I can feel the jitters of the caffeine I’m about to have, walking smiles, shadows shifting as the sun sets down Santa Clara Street, dancing to cumbia salsa merengue on weekends out with Maria, Pablo Alboran on replay, 11pm runs to Yogurtland with Kelly, Philz sessions with Quynh, trip to Oakland to talk to Claire, folklorico and modern dance practice, more caffeine
scenes engraved in me
it’s a new day, new smiles, new beginnings
the painting before my eyes lives
transforms my soul
the wind makes a vivid sketch of lines with my hair
flowing with the waters of Fiume Tevere
awake me into a new beginning
entrap me into the eternity of your enchantment
awake me with chirping birds and vine-decorated stone bridges
let me flow amidst your waters
waters that know no death
let me traverse into wondrous lives,
into the eyes of people that the river captivates
let my heart speak
write the winds that erode a better ground
a new perspective, a new existence
let my body feel
magnify the sentiment of carnage existence
let my soul soar wanderlust above the river’s waters
painting love in my beholder’s eyes
Roma, Italia marked the start of a new chapter in my life. My trip in April to la cita eterna was the manifestation of a decision I took a some months before—the decision to l[i/o]ve abroad, explore, write, paint. The first days, my body still pained from former sleepless nights. Thoughts still roamed on autopilot and my body felt the twist and turns of my former every day experiences. Mi visita a Roma no pudo haber sido otra cosa. Despite the muscle memory of my tense body and my mind’s tendency to think incessantly, the city captivated me with a strength stronger than the one I thought I carried. I crossed River Tevere every single day through Ponte Sant’Angelo where vendors tried to stop me to buy recuerditos, and tourists posed for pictures—the bridge itself was a flowing river of people whose lives were woven in some way through its traverse.
Every morning awoke me with a bright blue sky, a noisy street of suited men and women on vespas and smart cars honking at each other, and locals talking on their way to work as I imagined. On the cobblestone streets, locals walked fast paced towards the metro, or bus stops. At least in every block cafes crowded with people having their cappuccino or espresso with a cornetto or biscotto, either sitting down or standing at the bar. Some señoras swept the streets in front of the apartment complexes in which they lived in.
I was enveloped in the smells of cafe, the pollution fumes that buses effused in the air, and the smell of fresh perfume and cologne that lingered through the narrow streets early mornings. Fresh flowers were carried on wheel barrels to local flower shops. I can still taste the spicy salame and mozzarella of the panino in the afternoon as Laura and I sipped another cappuccino. And how can I forget the auburn sunset light that glimmered on the wet cobblestone and painted its city walls with a living history and enchantment as I heard Ciao bella ragazza on the evenings walking home. The creamy pistachio e amarena gelato derritiendose en mi boca and the live musicians playing La Vie en Rose creating the ambient in Piazza Navona.
It was as if the city enamored me without me even knowing it. The indulgence of life in all ways and senses was too grand that it overtook me. River Tevere and its allurement reminded me of the fluidity of life, the relationships we sow and weave, the strength that the waters carry, the resilience of our gente against all odds, to live with visions and destinations of a better life, and the love for exploration and new perceptions that runs through my veins—the incessant addiction to live in love upon knowing its grandeur.
Roma, Italia was exactly where I needed to be, the affirmation of the journey I continue to live.