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  • Beauty can be such a burden.

    I am in Rome near the Trevi Fountain. A hazelnut gelato in my mouth.

    I am bored. Listlessly tired. I do not want to see another fresco, another image of Christ, contorted, on the cross, or as some bambino, surrounded by cherubim.

    My eyes glaze at the portraits of the Madonna in vermillion robe, Madonna weeping under a Titian blue skies, Madonna with beatific smiles, Madonna with the sunset nimbus.

    Homesick. I crave more than anything. My bed. The faces of my friends. Not strangers.

    When I see a young couple walk down a street holding hands. It slices me.

    There is a gaggle of Korean tourists. Young women.

    They look like they have just returned from a shopping spree in Milan.

    They have swan necks, long limbs, long legs, in mini-skirts, their outfits match their luxe handbags, the crocodile shoes. Boring.

    I came to Rome to forget the humhum of my life. The first few days was full of exhilaration—the Coliseum! The Parthenon! St. Peter’s Cathedral!

    But eventually, the exclamations expire and were replaced by a trail of banal periods. The balloon sinks, sags, becomes flaccid.

    Never enough. Always chasing novelty. This ravenous raven claws inside me, feral. Caged.

    I tried sex. I tried alcohol. I tried travelling. Shopping. Art. Nature.

    Nothing worked. Endured.

    Satisfaction escaped me like water through a sieve.

    Years later, I am on the beach in Thailand, on a remote island, in the Andaman sea, the water is a jewel, jade green, the sand is blistering white.

    I have been marooned on the island now for several days.

    The same feeling of lassitude overwhelms me here in paradise.

    I remember Rome.

    In that moment, I understand that there is no escape.

    Nowhere to defect. My mind is my dungeon.

    Eventually, I realize something so simple: boredom is boredom is boredom.

    It also does not last. It too will vanish. Like that moment in the Eternal City.
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