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Roman purgatory

It’s hot. Really hot. 98 (37) in the shade hot. Pure skin to liquid in the sun hot. It’s been this way for weeks, will be this way for weeks. On either end of the weather graph that I stare at endlessly the number refuses to move, as if they’ve fallen there with glue on their ends, forever fastening us to burn.

I am from Florida. We moved here from Uganda. And I have never seen anything like it. No rain, no breeze, each day bleeding into the next with such exact precision that if you laid each day on top of the other you would see not even the slightest variation, so exact in fact that I no longer believe anymore time is passing.

Rome is empty in this August heat. Either away on holiday or locked up in their homes until September brings relief, the Italians shut down this month. In my entire neighborhood there is one restaurant open for lunch. I see tourists, the few who did not read that this was perhaps the very worst time you could visit this city, walking past gated, boarded up shops, maps in hand, circling a maze of nothingness.

Perhaps some young American boys said it best. Passing my husband after an early jog, looking for something to drink in their desperate fight against quick-coming dehydration, and of course coming up empty, one turned to the other and said, “This is where you come to die.”

Or you can just let the mosquitoes eat you piece by piece, which believe me, they try.


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