Honeymoon, Part One:The Crowning

Ryan Heller
October 9  /  Basilica
I wonder if we’ve been here before. In another life. Everything feels so familiar, comfortable – like wrapping my childhood security blanket around me. The tattered, worn stars and moon fabric I used to wear as a dress, locked in the safety of my bedroom.

There is a stained glass crown, a symbol of something that means nothing to me, but I can’t take my eyes away. I sketch it. Golden, curved, backlit and glowing by sunlight soaking through.
Sovereignty – tattooed on my arm. The king, the young prince – the spiritual journey toward, what? Climbing some ladder or rotating, spinning, traveling the universe like the sun and moon orbit Earth.
Chris left me here.
At the basilica.
To venture back to the hotel.
And his sudden departure, the announcement he was walking back, left me sitting with a quickly growing burn in my heart.
But deeper.
Deeper than the heart.
Seated in this church, in Rome, I can’t help but feel a familiar envelopment of resentment. Anger.
From mental wanderlust to a now gnawing static, lingering like echoes from the church organ. The organist is testing keys; playing one note for an extended period. Deep, earthly vibrations are felt in my gut. He pulls from the center of the Earth to extract heavy, rich sounds. Enough to ripple through toes, up the spinal chord, then sooth my throat as it passes to my brain. A hypnotic pulse takes my breath away. It fills the basilica, bouncing off marble, columns, statues of saints and worshipped deities.
Each note pierces where the bitterness lies.
Note after note.
For minutes.
Beautiful, deafening sirens fill the basilica like a garment of vibration.
Until the feelings dissipate.
And I look up.
Toward the crown.
The golden glow.
And I know it belongs to me.
Small tea candles line in rows, their flames dance with the echo. A flame for the deceased. Souls twirl around me.
I am in Rome.
On my honeymoon.
I have just married Chris.
We are attached. As one. Like it was always meant to be.
We are here. Together. Like we were always meant to be.




October 11  /  Baceano Cafe

A language – nondescript – something foreign that gets lost in an alley. A cobblestone paved side street in Rome. Voices like waves ripple to the sound of an accordion, a tambourine, silverware clinking against plates.
The boy in a blue coat stares off – distant in his own mind – as the tambourine player begs his mother for money. He is fixed on her. On her rhythmic pattern. She approaches our table and says something in Italian, but we ignore. Lost in translation. Lost in notebooks.
Chris sketches.
I write.
Jet lag creeps my eyes with only a few hours sleep.
The boy in blue has a hood over his head. Still dazed, his mother makes him smile. He methodically pulls and chews on something that looks to be a sandwich.
The street is alive with faces.
Faceless faces.
Sounds, dialect, colors. A chill that makes my sweater ideal.
Blue sky.
Swarms of legs. Of arms. Like machines swaying to and fro, propellers propelling the faceless faces forward – tours, hotels, directions. Mobile statues of flesh and bone, muscle and memory, wound up to move. To talk. To believe in a daily purpose. Rituals. Of going in a line. Down a road. Down a street. In a house. A car. With children. Faces with a reason to exist all on their own.
But one is another is the other behind the one.
With more yet to come. To be born. Faces to add to the herd.
A father kneels to tie his daughter’s shoe, the wave stills for them.
And they are gone.
I stare at the face ahead of me – in front of me – the face of my other. The face with a face and a story. The face amongst the faceless, the only face that matters. Plucked from the sea.
Behind the sea of faces.
He sketches. Lost in lines and ink. We exist together in physical form, but mental so far apart. He studies the shape and form, light and shadow of architecture. I filter through the negative space with words scribbled on a piece of paper that can hopefully be read sometime in the future.
To cause a vibration.
Ignite a thought.
Or movement.
To set face to the faceless. Purpose to the mechanics of one foot before another.
Two Romans with plastic swords dressed in ancient warrior costume catch my attention.
The accordion picks up once again to fill the moment. The sounds lift. It’s as if the movie resumed.
And they animate.
Something has passed.
The boy in blue holds his mother’s hand. They walk forward, swallowed by the sea.




October 12  /  Driving

I want to loose myself. To close my eyes and spiral through trees, buildings, the woman on her motorcycle – blue flared coat with purple pants, swerving between cars and near death experiences.
I am microscopic, without shell. A blur in vision that holds no loyalty to time. The manmade ticking of a line within a circle, framing numbers and shape. An object of no meaning that means so much when creating a day. When to move, to greet, how fast or how slow, when to be, to say adieu.
When to come alive.
An hour.
A minute.
The second hand that circles round and round.
I wish to not exist in time, but rather between space. The wordless, timeless, limitless unknown that just is.
In trees scattering the mountaintop. The boxes within which people live. The roads on which they drive. The air that keeps us alive. The thing with no physical bounds, sans corpus.
We come to this life, on earth, with body, words, time, structure. Defined parameters. A pinball machine – intricately designed with obstacles, roadways, skyways. Tunnels and paths to bounce within. We are pinballs, with a set moment of launch – lever to be pulled – to spring into existence.
Hit, beat, score, win, lose. Bounce back, left and right.
Round 1.
Round 2.
Round 3.
Until we disappear through a black tunnel, back to where we came.
Banged up.
One hundred and thirty five thousand points. A new record. And maybe, just maybe, we come back to play again.
The limits keep us limitless. The ground keeps us groundless. Without obstacles, the ball shoots forward, loses momentum, then ceases to exist.
The mountaintop offers endless perspective, but so do the deepest depths of the sea. Land is for walking, but the highs are for flying and the lows for swimming.
They teach us our stride in this life. It’s what builds new frontier for others to have a stepping-stone. For it is by one that two can exist. Because we are the same.
There is always a desire to isolate, to disintegrate, back to the invisible unknown that is greater than time. Beyond limits, between space, the grout between tiles.
And somehow, buried beneath the conscious mind, we know where we came from. We know the journey of our soul.
A reflection, an echo, of what has been and where we are rooted.
Beyond primordial.

Thanks for reading