Rome is a different city at 4:30 in the morning.
Instead of hands running sticky with gelato and roaming gangs of tourists shamelessly posing and loitering, hands run sticky from cheap beer- and god knows what else- while droves of drunk study abroads who came to Rome to find themselves stumble home. It was in this blissful haze that I likewise found myself, along with my degenerate friends Sarah, Emma, and Victoria (I sincerely apologize for these names, but for the sake of my friends’ dignity I had to preserve their anonymity… not that they even exist, as this is all fiction of course), walking home after a night out on the town. It had by no means been a particularly eventful night; there was the regular throng of Italian men with perfectly groomed eyebrows and wafts of cigarette smoke drifting through crowded rooms, choking me down as I tried to sip my overpriced & watered down cocktail. By all accounts, a pretty typical night in the eternal city.
We were passing Largo di Torre Argentina, the ancient Roman ruins between Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Venezia, when Victoria had to stop to adjust her shoe. I, still engaged in animated conversation with Emma, was swinging my arms violently, as you do when you live in Rome (a place where hand gesture makes up 35% of the language). To my dismay, mid-swing, my bracelet came unclasped and, as if in slow motion, I helplessly watched as it sailed dramatically in the air before dropping down over the railing wall and INTO the Roman ruins. Cazzo…
“MY BRACELET” I shrieked as I ran over to the railing and saw it glittering below next to the remains of a 2000 year old column. Now granted, this bracelet was only $16, and from Tj Maxx, but I’d be damned if I was going to leave it behind. It was very cool, and I need not offer any further justification. If this story were to be true, which it is most assuredly not, then this is what I imagine the bracelet might have looked like.
I looked around and saw a group of tall, good looking guys (not that their appearance had any bearing on what I did next… ok maybe a little bit) goofing around and walking along the top of the wall. Keep in mind that these ruins are totally inaccessible to the public, and are strictly for archaeologists and excavators, but this wall conveniently circumnavigated the security barricade that blocked the entrance to the stairs down to the ruins. “Hey! I dropped my bracelet in the ruins, can you go get it for me?” I yelled at them, trying my best to sound like a damsel in distress. Obviously I need to work on my feminine wiles, as all they did was give me a confused expression, and I could tell that they weren’t going to do it. Damn! All was not lost, as my unlikely hero Sarah came to the rescue and exclaimed in exasperation, “Move, I’ll do it”, climbing up onto the wall before dropping down to the stairs below. Before I could register what was happening, she was sprinting through the ruins towards my bracelet, and one of the guys had dropped down after her and was sprinting behind her. Uh-oh… what had I gotten us into?
After finding the bracelet, the two of them sprinted back to the stairs under the cover of darkness. Let it be known that Sarah is a great climber, but for one reason or another required the man’s assistance in hoisting herself back up and over the wall. That cunning minx had his hands around her waist in no less than 2 minutes… I have so much to learn from her. I’ve also never seen Sarah run so fast, and with such agility and grace, it’s amazing what a little motivation can do- and no I am not talking about my bracelet as the motivator. I am talking about the beautiful man who she lured into comitting acts against cultural heritage. After once again being reunited with my beloved bracelet, Sarah and the man struck up a conversation. How convenient. Sarah would tell me later that in her drunken state she had thought that my bracelet was made of pure gold, or perhaps was a family heirloom, and that is why she committed a felony to retrieve it for me, but I don’t buy that for a second. Likely story… the guys were far too good looking for me to believe that.
While Sarah and her track star mystery man talked and looked out over their crime scene, Emma, Victoria and I began chatting to the other two guys. We found out that they were German and were only in the city for a few nights. I am sure we made their trip quite memorable with that little escapade. Let’s call one of the German men Wolfgang and the other Gunter… Sarah’s man will be referred to as Hans. We stood and talked to Wolfgang and Gunter until 4:30 turned into 5, and Sarah and Hans returned to the group with a brilliant idea: How about you guys come over to our place!? Oh great- there’s no way that this can go poorly.
Back at our place- Emma, Victoria, and I were introduced to the wonders of German techno music while Sarah and Hans had disappeared into her bedroom. That temptress! Now you know why I named him Hans… he had his hans all over Sarah. Wolfgang and Emma were getting along like old friends while Gunter was utterly enamored with Victoria. Oh well, one noise complaint and some kind of pasta concoction later, and I finally laid my head down on my pillow at 6:30 am and watched the sunrise out my window. Never say that I am not a morning person.
Although I am the only one who didn’t end up with a German, I was reunited with my precious $16 Tj Maxx bracelet, so who really got lucky that night?
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