When last I checked in it was Friday and both the weekend and Daddy were coming so the three of us girls were in a pretty good space. On Saturday morning, I suggested that I take us all out to breakfast at a sweet little sidewalk trattoria I’d seen in the old town area and then we could check out a park on the way back that looked great for children. And then Arleigh could nap and Abby could work and I could figure out dinner while we waited for Misha, who was due back right about meal time. Off we went on the bus and then, not sure quite where to get off, we over shot our stop by a couple and ended up in a part of town that had absolutely nothing to offer us except a nightmare maze of confusion: the Termini. Arleigh was getting very antsy on an empty tummy and we were all frustrated. You would think that by now the bus system would be clear and easy, or perhaps that I am a total idiot in figuring it out. But you would also think that buses run on their posted schedules to the places they claim to be going without odd little detour jaunts around an area that is totally unfamiliar. We ate overpriced not good food and found another bus stop, after a lot of wandering, that would take us to the park. We stopped there at the Victor Emmanuel playground and Arleigh enjoyed the small children’s amusement park area (it’s really quite nice) but by then we were tired so we again hopped on the bus to head home- and within a few stops realized we were headed in the wrong direction, right back to Termini where every train, metro, tram and bus in entire Western world come and go. Off the bus, cross the street, wait for the next one. Both Abby and I were very much on edge and we were riding along trying to keep Arleigh awake so she would actually eat some lunch and take a proper nap. Then the bus came to a stop as numerous police cars were actively cordoning off the street. There was a dead body in the middle of the road, in our direct and close line of vision. Fortunately Arleigh was down in her stroller. It was a shocking thing, apparently a pedestrian hit by a car. The bus didn’t move for a while and we just stood there, along with all the other passengers in stunned silence.
After we got home we couldn’t even mention it to each other until hours later. During that time and since then I’ve thought a lot about how we all communicate about terrible and shocking events. Privately, publicly and through the media. I’ve thought about public grief and the advantages and disadvantages to us as we try to cope with these things. I’ve wondered if we dilute our own personal ability to organize and mend ourselves emotionally and if “public” noisy mourning in some way substitutes for more centered strength, insight and resiliency. I don’t know. During my time here in Rome I’ve watched America reacting to another mass murder of youth. We saw this accident. And there is personal grief. Every where, looking for solace.
This is my last full day here and I have lots of other interesting bits and pieces and sweet little interludes, photos and good times so I’ll add those later on today and tomorrow during travel time. This time spent with this little part of my family has been time I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. It’s been the very best place for me to be.
Right now I’m headed off for an art exhibition about Klimt I’ve been eager to see.