XI – A Roman’s House Is Not Necessarily His Home

Dear Journal:

To continue my story, I walked into that villa very slowly and with much trepidation. The officer was right beside me every step. Guess he didn’t want me to panic and run the other way. The thought had occurred to me, but where would I go? The guards were outside and, besides, all of my stuff was here.

Trying to make the best of a very strange situation, I entered the main room and received another surprise. There in front of us stood a line of people, obviously waiting for our arrival. The officer looked them over, then turned to me.

“These are your servants and slaves; here to cater to your every whim.” The leer on his face spoke volumes.

I, on the other hand, was far from amused. Servants!? Slaves!? What was I supposed to do with them? My question was met with, what was to me, the wrong answer.

“Whatever your patrician heart desires. After all, you’re a noble Roman now. A member of the upper class. Enjoy your change in fortune.”

The last part of his sentence was unspoken, but I understood it anyway – while it lasts. I had no doubt that my fortunes could evaporate just as fast as I had gotten them. Maybe faster. What kind of a sick trap was I caught up in? Noble Roman my eye. Helpless prisoner was more like it.

While this exchange was going on, the servants had begun to bustle about, each to his or her specific task. I was led over to a very ornate chair where I was, apparently, supposed to sit. Have you ever been in a rich person’s home? You’re afraid to touch anything for fear of breaking or soiling it. You tiptoe across the floor, afraid you’ll scuff it. And the furniture . . . Nope! Can’t sit anywhere! The furniture costs more than you will ever make, and you’ll never be able to replace it. I’ll just stand over here, next to the door, where it’s safer, thank you very much!

Such were my thoughts when I saw that chair. Sit there? I don’t think so! I couldn’t quite adjust to the concept that everything here was my property. The servant had a pitying look on her face which seemed to say ‘You really don’t know when you’re well off, do you?’

At this point I asked one of the hundreds of questions crowding my mind. Where was MY furniture?

The servant pointed to one of the other rooms. “In there. We didn’t know what to do with it. It’s so . . . plebian.”

Plebian my #$$! I loved that furniture. Those pieces were like old friends who had been with me forever. More useful, at any rate, than the fancy stuff in the rest of the house.

Trying to take charge of part of my life, I showed the staff where to place my old furniture.

When we were done, that part of the villa looked very much like my old home. My intent was simple. I would live in those rooms until I got used to the rest of the house. No, you people can’t dust or clean in there! That’s my personal space! Once I had established some basic rules with everyone, I decided to call it a day. It was still early, but I was tired, confused, and depressed. All I wanted to do was sleep. While all this was running through my head, I muttered that some wine would sure be nice right now.

Faster than I could blink, a bottle and a chalice appeared before me, carried by the fastest slave I had ever seen. I very much wanted to scream – cut that out! But I held my response, poured myself a shakey cup of wine, and told him to put the bottle away.

So it was that I hurried off to bed, anxious to hide from everyone and everything that was twisting my life around. I’ll see how this comic opera goes tomorrow.

Chapter XII

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 5:13 PM  Comments (3)