it was our last night in rome. it was cold, january, and got dark early on in the night. desperate to absorb every iota of the city into our skin before being torn from the place, my friends and i set out to visit all of our favorite tourist hot spots. we hit the trevi fountain, the pantheon, the monument to vittorio emmanuele, a gelato store. but there was one place that we reserved for last, one place that we had visited over and over, where we had sat outside on a stone wall eating fresh panini and watching asian couples get their wedding photos taken. and when we got to to il colosseo, it was after midnight and as the air got crisper we became more aware that our time in italy was over. and i walked to the grass lawn across from that monument that everyone knows, laid down on my back, and stared up at the tan edge of the crumbling stone etched across the deep black sky. and this is a moment i have trapped in my memory, the feel of the air, how i scooped my coat’s hood under my head as a cushion, how i had such wonderful and new friends around me, the bittersweetness, the awesomeness of the history, and the smell of centuries-old stone. i miss it, still.