Fiction/Non-fiction

Trevi Fountain: Toss a Coin, Wait for the Odds

I’m not sure if I’ve ever thrown a coin in a fountain. I’m more prone to making silly wishes on wish chips and birthday candles. I did, however make a more serious wish to see Trevi Fountain. That wish almost came true. 

It all began on a muggy Rome day. After walking through the long halls of the Vatican Museum, sitting on the crowded Spanish Steps and hearing the bell toll at St. Peter’s Basilica, my sister and I headed out to see Trevi Fountain, a sight romanticized in photographs and movies. I imagined seeing the white marble fountain with its elegant statues and flowing water as I tossed a Euro into the fountain.

We arrived at night, the streets full of tourists, Romans and men peddling roses. The shops were closed, their lights glowing in the narrow streets. I think the only shop open at that point was a gelato store. Gelato. Now that was a wish come true.

“It’s closed,” my sister said to me dejectedly as we rounded the corner. “It’s under construction…”

I stepped up to the glass enclosure, the fountain barely visible through the foggy glass. It was drained of water and I couldn’t really make anything out. It had not been what I had anticipated or expected. Where was the awe and magic?

We were disappointed but tried to make the best out of it, snapping pictures of our sad faces in front of the enclosed Trevi Fountain.

To be fair, my sister and I didn’t really plan it out very well. Eager to see the famed fountain and listening to our brother’s words that it was not under construction, we took the metro down to see it, not even considering for a moment whether it really was under construction.

In a way, we had tossed a coin and the odds were not in our favour that night. In the process, we had also gotten lost, knowing that that metro line we had taken closed at 9:30 pm.

It was a little scary but we eventually found our way back by bus. So my wish to see Trevi Fountain didn’t really come true.

I suppose though, it’s all in how I look at it.

Technically, I did see Trevi Fountain but I didn’t see it the way I wanted to see it.

Rome didn’t have the flowers of Paris or the comfortable quaintness of Brugge. It wasn’t dressed up prettily. It’s an ancient city, weathered by time and history.

Sometimes wishes don’t come true. And sometimes people and places are not what we want them to be. But that’s okay–I think we need that dose of reality to wake us up and remind us that not everything’s a fairytale. If anything, tossing that coin and taking that chance made me a bit tougher. Able to appreciate the more difficult moments and have more gratitude for the easier times.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Three Coins in the Fountain.”

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