At my hand #3

april 6 - in my graspMom and I are resting on a bench in the busy Piazza Navona square – historical Rome is busier than usual given it’s Easter Monday.

I’m carrying my camera equipment in my backpack, which means Mom is carrying the third pair of shoes I bought this trip in her backpack. We’re playing a game: we’re trying to guess the Italians from the foreign tourists based on what they’re wearing.

For the past half hour, we’ve been keeping a running commentary on the people who’ve walked by – especially the men.

A few months ago, Mom sat with me for three hours in the ER, while I waited to see someone about mysterious eye pain shooting through my scalp and my pupil. I held my hand over the throbbing one and with the good one said yes or no as Mom swiped through guys on Tinder. This is much the same, except they are on real-life parade – and as I’ve already mentioned, they are Italian.

Finally I say, “I’m anxious about going back home.”

“Excited anxious or nervous anxious?” she asks.

“Nervous,” I say. I am nervous about Attraction. Would he remember I still existed?

“That’s silly, though,” I explain to Mom. “How many good friends have I made through dating? If he forgets me as a dating prospect, it’s unlikely he’ll forget me as a friend.”

“It could be worse,” Mom says. “You could feel no anxiety at all.”

I look at her bemused.

“The anxiety is an indication that you care about whether or not this works out. Would you rather not have any anxiety at all? That would mean you didn’t care one way or the other.”

Huh, I think. Anxiety… a friend?

Does that mean that ruthless, insensitive, unrelenting drama queen could have my back? No, it’s not true – we could never be friends. I don’t trust her at all, but this may mean I have found a use for her.