Please know that I feel terrible when I let days pass without posting. These days, I am typing one-handed, with my left hand, and it’s a challenge. Conditions should improve in about 2-3 weeks, so hang in there.
As I wrote two posts back, I was called to Rome for an in-person interview with the Public Prosecutor. I boarded a flight to Rome (which had a 9-hour layover in Brussels) and met my bodyguard, Eddie, at the airport in Rome.
I instantly liked Eddie, with his thick, meathook hands, stocky build and a quiet disposition that conveyed he had seen some things in his day. We stepped out into the hot, humid afternoon air and took a taxi to Hotel Veneto to meet up with my parents.
The car ride evoked a strange sensation that is hard to explain. I was just hyperaware of everything -people on the sidewalks, the cars next to us, and even how the trees lining the road bent.
Upon arrival at the hotel, Eddie inspected the halls and lobby, and helped me get to my room. He then took off to evaluate the area and the property, but let me know that he was only a call away. I got situated in my parents room and waited for them to come back from their day trip to Pompeii (they had arrived a few days ahead of me to sightsee).
The night passed quickly as I was beyond jetlagged and quite nervous with anticipation. My parents and I ate close by but I recall how jumpy I felt making the walk just a few blocks to a nearby restaurant. I had a late morning appointment with my attorney who was scheduled to come down from Milan. And my mind was snapping with all the points I wanted to make to him.
The day of my interview, I awoke early. But rather than go for a walk as I had done many times before in Rome, I stayed put until Eddie and my Mom were ready to join me. At 9am, we set out to go back to the street Marco lived on in an effort to take pictures of the buildings from street view. That’s right, I was heading right back to where it all took place so I could see it in daylight.
Let me tell you, turning the corner onto Marco’s street brought on a certain dread. I let Eddie go ahead of us to check out the street. When he came back to retrieve us, I began pointing out various elements: the door to Marco’s building,
the gate I swung around between buildings many stories up,
and I even went looking for the door of the building I had exited the horrors of that night.
Eddie pointed out to me that the building directly across from Marco’s – in fact, it ran the entire length of the street – was a school. That explained a lot. When Marco and I were fighting out on his patio, I remember staring at the closed window shutters on the building across the street wondering why no one had opened their window to see what I was screaming about.
Moments later, we gained entrance to the school via a custodian Eddie had chatted up. Eddie had told the custodian he was an architect from Milan (and my Mom and I were his assistants) and was hoping to get to the top floor of the school in order to take photos of the buildings across the street. The custodian obliged us and walked us up five flights of stairs. When we walked to the open windows on that floor, we were almost directly across and one story down from Marco’s apartment. My Mom gasped as she got her first real sense of what I had faced during the escape. I felt a surge of adrenaline and fear, but took out my camera and began snapping away.