Calum McSwiggan

Giving Up On The Magic

In Eat, Love on June 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Fontana Di Trevi

‘A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it’

– John Steinbeck

As I listened to the serene sound of the gentle trickling waters of the fountain, I gazed in at all of the gleaming coins and considered all the wishes that had been made upon them, and how so many of them would never come true.

Jack’s girlfriend would probably never stop cheating on him; world peace would never be realised for Cynthia; Doris would never win the lottery; and Mark’s penis would never be eight inches- I was staring into a well of un-kept promises, a well of broken dreams, a well of lies and heartbreak.

 And amongst those many broken wishes was my own. A year ago I tossed a coin into the Fontana Di Trevi and made a wish. The lore of the fountain promises that doing so ensures your return, and although it had kept its word and I’d wound up back there, it had completely forgotten about my wish.

I had wished for a long and happy life with my fiancé, and since he had jilted me for a ginger late last year, my faith in the fountain was all but lost. I could feel the optimistic positive person inside of me being washed away in the waters, the child-like naivety that helps me believe that the world is a wonderful place was drowning, and my belief in a greater power was swirling down the drain.

Almost heartbroken at the thought of all of those un-kept promises, I left the fountain without throwing in another coin, and swore that I’d never come back.

It wasn’t until an insightful friend reassured me that my wish could still come true, that I was dragged out of this coma of pessimism. I could still live a long and happy life with my fiancé, I just hadn’t chosen the right one yet. Driving my ex into the arms of a ginger may have been the first step in the fountain’s masterful plan.

And maybe I was wrong about the other wishes too, maybe Jack’s girlfriend would decide to be faithful, maybe Cynthia would witness world-wide peace, maybe Doris would win the lottery, and maybe she’d use her winnings to pay for Mark’s penis enlargement surgery.

I quickly came to regret not throwing another coin into the fountain; I had discarded an opportunity for happiness, and now I was unlikely to ever return. When I later discovered that the proceeds are all donated to an AIDS charity, a cause I have recently become extremely passionate about, I felt like it was The Universe kicking me up the arse and telling me to stop being a dick.

It’s a wondrous thing when things happen at precisely the right time, and this really was one of those moments. It helped me to remember that, although I am not religious, I am a deeply spiritual person, and I would be doing myself an enormous disservice if I ever stopped believing in the magic of the fountain.

  1. That’s one of my favorite Steinbeck quotes!

    • I hadn’t heard it before, I stumbled it upon it today, it is quite the gem!

  2. Trevi is a magic place in Rome, though I have not been back in years. I remember HEARING it before seeing it the very first time and your piece made me recall those long ago memories. My tossed coins brought me back several times. I celebrate your observations and believe your wishes can certainly be realized.

    • If you can’t find it, all you need to do is listen 🙂 Every time I have been there it has been by accident, they say all roads lead to Rome, but I think maybe all roads lead to Trevi. Thanks for the kind words, i do so hope that you’re right!

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