Rome, 14 August 2004
Of course, I can’t be sure on which day we made him, but I like to think it was the third night.
We had arrived in Rome and got off the train, quite a way out in the outskirts. The station looked dangerous, it was dark. This is what you get for choosing a cheap hotel. We took the first taxi in the rank.
The lady driver seemed to be taking us on a ride around town, keen to bump up the fare. I was disappointed, as she seemed like a trustworthy woman, but then, as Laura said, I always think that. We had been driven past the Coliseum, and then suddenly, we were at our hotel. Miles from where we’d got off the train. In the centre of town!
I decided that it was better to be happy that we’d actually got a fantastic location, rather than stupid that I’d trusted the map on the website. The hotel was in a lovely old building. Not luxurious, but very comfortable, and a fantastic location. And my faith in Italian female taxi drivers was restored.
We flung the balcony doors open and took in our little patch of Rome. We were tired from the journey, but we didn’t care. We tore each other’s clothes off, and made love, but I don’t think that was the night.
The next day, we did everything near the hotel. The Coliseum, of course. Trevi fountain. Spanish steps. We visited the Palatine gardens, and found a secluded spot. Surprising we could get enough privacy, or maybe we just didn’t care. And we made love there too, in Caesar’s palace or something. At night we found a fantastic pizza place that the guide book had recommended. We had to change tables several times, and we got very drunk, and the waiter never wrote anything down, but he seemed to remember everything perfectly. It could have been that night.
On the second full day, our intention was to visit the Vatican. I wasn’t really interested. I had seen St Peter’s before, and I found it to be an incredibly brazen show of wealth and power, stolen by the Catholic Church from poor people, with gold stolen by the Spanish from the Incas. Anyway, looking at the map, I thought I’d found a shortcut to ‘Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II’ which would take us there quickly. It was raining, and any time we could save, would mean we would get to the queue sooner.
We turned into the piazza and then we saw it. We looked at each other. We had to go in.
A stunning portico. Eight columns wide. It looked like a smaller version of the Parthenon in Athens. This was definitely Roman. Proper old. And, it was a church. It was open. We went inside…
It was round! It had a beautiful domed roof! With – get this – a hole in it! Not an accidental hole – the whole roof had clearly been designed around it. This looked like an eye to the heavens, and, indeed, the heavens were pouring in, and the warm rain was showering down, the midday sun, the only illumination, a vertical shaft in perfect alignment with the raindrops.
Giddy, we ran around the shower, and found ourselves, in our temple. And I held her there, in the rain, and we were naked, and in love, and we were young. And that is when we made our son. Ok, it was back at the hotel, we would have been arrested! But in our hearts, that was the moment he started.
We never did make it to the Vatican.