(Six impossible things before breakfast)
In a few hours Rome will be teeming with people, but now, at six in the morning, it’s all ours. Woken by jetlag, we’ve emerged from our apartment on Via Boccaccio to search for breakfast, but we don’t know which way to go. Shannon and the boys look perturbed, but my nerve endings still tingle from those first waking moments when Shannon’s arm on my belly kept me from stirring. I lay listening in near darkness to the unfamiliar sounds of the street below: the rumble of a delivery van over cobblestone, the clatter of a security door, a shouted greeting and a conversation I could only guess the meaning of. I felt like a child eavesdropping on a secret.
It will take time for the city to wake, so we wander aimlessly, taking it in turns to hold one another’s hands and squeezing lightly to assure ourselves we’re really here. We favour the narrow lanes, and each turn reveals a treasure: domed churches, a covered archway with a frescoed ceiling, a wrought iron balcony. Then we see the hint of a private courtyard – the bough of an orange tree, heavy with ripe fruit, reaching out over a high stone wall. Aidan takes a running jump and tries to grab an orange, and I’m flung back ten years, to the front yard of our little house in Sydney.