A moment of shyness

Two years ago, when I visited Rome, Italy for the first time, on the very last day of my two and a half months stay, I decided to go to the famous Trevi Fountain to throw a coin so that I could come back to this beautiful city that I had come to love so much.

It was a bright sunny day in mid December. I carefully chose a coin that I was going to throw in the Trevi Fountain and put it in my pocket before leaving home. Though throwing a coin at Trevi Fountain is just a typical tourist activity, for me, it carried a more auspicious meaning. I was going to tell the city (I was personifying the city like ancient Romans did) that I loved my time in Rome and that it was my wish to come back to visit again in the future.

As I got off the bus at the nearest bust stop, I felt very nervous. Finally, the day had arrived for me to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain was crowded with many people as usual. I looked around the whole square searching for a most quiet space suitable to my auspicious vow. I decided to go to the far left of the fountain where I saw less people moving around.

Once I reached the spot, I faced the fountain and held the coin in my hand. In front of me, people were throwing coins into the water one after another. They were all doing it in the “correct” way as explained in any tourist guidebook. That is, you stand facing your back to the fountain, then throw your coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.

As I watched, my hand became sweaty. The easiest thing as throwing a coin into the water became a towering mountain in my consciousness. To me, the biggest hurdle was that I would have to face all these people around the fountain when I threw my coin because I had to stand facing my back to the water.

That scared me. I wanted to throw my coin in secrecy so that nobody would even see me doing it. But if I faced the people, I might come eye to eye with somebody. Then what should I do?

With sweat in my hand, I paced around the area.

One hour passed. By that time, I got used to the faces of the guards who were watching over the people so that they would not sit on the architecture. I was observing every single person who approached the water and threw their coins. Everybody looked happy after throwing their coin. I stood there rooted on the marble staircase, holding my coin tight in my hand and feeling ever more eager to throw it.

Finally, I decided it was my turn. Feeling shy and timid in front of my vow that was about to happen, I walked straight over to the fountain edge, turned my back to the water, and threw my coin over my left shoulder. When I finished it, I felt so good that I looked around and smiled at everybody whose eyes met mine.

Satisfied, I marched off to my next destination, thus completing my one hour stay at Trevi Fountain.

Fontana di Trevi (Photo by Maiko Serizawa)