As mentioned previously, the Public Prosecutor of Rome requested an in-person interview with me for early June. With just a few weeks’ time to prepare, I organized a two-day trip for myself (at significant expense) as did my parents so they could be with me in Rome to support me. [photo credit]
Amidst the scramble to prepare, I was hit with a wave of nerves about what awaited me in Rome. I had a gripping fear that Marco or his father would attempt to harm me. I still had no idea what his connections were or his reach. And no one could tell me. So, I consulted a trusted advisor – who went above and beyond – and arranged a bodyguard for me. Yep, a bodyguard – a retired top security official for a royal family. And his name was Eddie.
I am sincere when I tell you I truly did not put anything past Marco. I was unnerved and scared, and had come to realize that there are no certainties in this life. And once I was back on foreign soil, it would be easier for Marco to cause me problems. My parents and closest friends understood this. They understood my need to have my will and affairs in order before I left. (My boyfriend did not, but that’s for a different post.) So, that’s what I did, I prepared.
At work, I faced having to lie to many of my coworkers about my quick, middle-of-the-week trip to Rome. I am not a good liar for lying’s sake. So, I believe I told people I had a quick family matter to attend to. But even that sounded strange. People asked me what was so pressing a reason that it warranted a 46-hour roundtrip to Italy in the middle of the work week. I couldn’t think of one. I was asked if it was a health matter or if I had met someone there from my trip 6 months earlier. One co-worker (who had no idea) quipped about my “glamorous life.”
On Monday evening, June 15, I boarded an AlItalia flight to Rome via Brussels, where I had a 9-hour layover. That’s right, my 46-hour trip included a 9-hour layover in Brussels. That was brutal. I fought hard to stay awake by responding to work emails and hitting the Belgian chocolates that seemed to be everywhere in the airport, calling my name. I also double- and triple-checked my plan to meet Eddie at the airport in Rome (he was flying in from Milan). I was so nervous and wanted to be certain nothing would go wrong.
When I arrived in Rome, I remember the out-of-body feeling I had when I took my first steps inside the terminal. The hairs were standing up on my arms and I felt tingly. And I knew why. I had come back to Rome to try my darndest to put one of their native sons in jail.
As soon as I let that feeling wash over me, I was able to move through customs and then gather my courage to exit out into the sea of faces awaiting international arrivals. I felt on edge, anxious to find Eddie. I had thoughts and parts of thoughts darting in and out of my mind that Marco would be there waiting for me, or some kind of sinister man sent by him. But I gave my best I-am-so-cool-nothing’s-bothering-me-performance and scanned and rescanned the crowd for Eddie. My heart was tripping and my stomach fluttered, and after what seemed like forever, I found him. Thank you, God, I found him.