Romantic Landscape: Going Mad in the Eternal City

Photo by Bert Kaufman ((CC BY-SA 2.0).

How terrifying. I’m glad you’re recovering, I write back. I’m at a dinner party in Rome and I think I’m having some kind of breakdown. I’m scared. I’m not sure who I am anymore and I don’t have a concussion to blame it on. Or Percodan. Can you email Percodan?

Sounds like we’re in the same place, he writes back. But listen: I know who you are. You are passionate and joyful. Try not to be scared. That is not your true nature.

It hits me like a slap that if my husband has ever said anything like that to me, I cannot remember it. That in fact his last words to me were along the lines of “You think you’re so put together and you don’t even see yourself. You’re a fucking trainwreck.” And that mine to him were “Thanks. Happy anniversary: enjoy your celibacy.”

I turn my face to the wall because I’m tired of crying in front of people.

Amy Glynn, in berfrois, takes us through an identity-shattering — and rebuilding — experience: the simultaneous decline of a marriage and withdrawal from psychotropic drugs in the dizzying, intense eternal city, Rome.

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