Jack’s Death

It was a beautiful morning in Rome and Sal had just had coffee at the Piazza Navona, and spent hours reading the paper in the shadow of one of the most beautiful fountains in Europe. As he perused the Herald Tribune, which kept him in touch with the States, he was, as usual, enthralled by the beauty of the Fountain of the Four Great Rivers.The magical sound of the water flowing over chiseled marble gave the fountain a lifelike existence. Sal thought to myself how lucky he was to be here in this magnificent city as a student and to have the opportunity to roam through the annals of history at will. The city has so many treasures that Sal must resist the temptation to see Rome as a tourist. It is a city of living moments that leap out from doorways, fountains, and cobblestone streets. The voices of the Forum can still be imagined as the sun glances off the Palatine Hill. Rome does things to your heart and soul and there are moments when you believe that you have lived here before. With all this poetic nonsense rushing through his veins, he finished the last drop of coffee.

There was no immediate need for him to race back to the Graduate House of Theological Studies, located on Via Dell’Umilta, so he went for a promenade toward St. Peters Square. Along the way he met a group of American tourists and offered his services as a tour guide that would escort them through St. Peters. It was fun hearing the familiar accents of New York and New Jersey which immediately brought him back to the land of his birth.

After an hour of pointing out what he knew, Sal bid them farewell and made his way back to the college. He was in his room for about ten minutes when the switchboard rang, and told him that he had a call from the States. Sal was pleasantly surprised, but couldn’t imagine who it was. Once connected by the operator the voice at the other end said, “Is that you Sal?” “Yes” he replied, “Who is it?” “It’s Tom Daly.” “Tom, it’s great to hear from you.” At that moment Sal could tell from the lack of enthusiasm that something was wrong. He immediately thought that it was one of his parents, but wondered why isn’t my brother or sister delivering the news? “Sal,” he said, “I have terrible news. Jack Murphy was killed in an accident last night.” Sal blanked out on the rest of the conversation, and merely muttered that he would take the next plane home.

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