The Roman Remains

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Pat Linum Pat Linum
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The Roman Remains

The Roman Remains by Pat Linum (2166 w)

I took a sharp, sudden intake of breath as the stabbing pain in my left side caught me by surprise yet again. I have had this awful sensation for as long as I can remember. Every now and then it gets me for no apparent reason. As a child, my parents took me to the Doctor’s countless times. The Doctor has sent me to hospital to see specialists, have x-rays and all the rest of it but nothing has ever been found wrong.
A year ago when I turned eighteen I went to see a psychiatrist who basically told me it was mind over matter and to just get on with my life. A great help that was, I don’t think, never the less I have to face the fact that she was about right and this phantom pain in my side is something I will have to put up with.
One day in the office of the small Accountancy practice where I work, I had a really nasty deep stabbing pain and I was leaning against a filing cabinet as my legs started to buckle. Karen, my friend, flat mate, and colleague, rushed over to me and with her arms around me I managed to stay upright as the pain passed.
At that moment our boss, Mr Grubby, as we call him, walked into the room and saw us like that.
“Aha a love-in I see. Not in work time please. At least wait till you get home then you can be as friendly as you like; if you get my drift.” You could almost see the scornful sarcasm oozing out of him.
We got his drift ok and I only wished I could have wiped that dirty grin off his face. I could see from her face Karen felt much the same.
An hour or so later we left the office for a lunch break and took our sandwiches into the park next to the office and sat on a bench where Mr Grubby cannot leer at us from the office window. Pervert.
“Karen held my hand and said “Carol you have got your scan next week and maybe they’ll find something and give you results when we and the other girls get back from our holiday in sunny Spain.”
“I hope so Karen I really do”  I tried to sound positive but I didn’t feel at all optimistic
Little did we know, then, that I would not be coming back, ever.
The next two weeks dragged by but eventually it was time to go. We all made it to Bristol airport, checked in and parted with our luggage. Now with my boarding card in hand I feel that we are on our way. I am so excited. The others are excited as well. For them it’s the thought of sun, sea, margaritas and possibly young men in skimpy swimwear. For me it’s more a deep sense of longing to be on that coast. At this time of year I need to be there. I feel an inward burning to be there along the Costa Del Sol. (The Sun Coast) I remember when it was called Costa Del Vienta. (The Windy Coast). The annoying thing is I don’t know how I know this or why I feel as I do. Maybe I am just neurotic.
 We arrived at Malaga airport and were re-united with our luggage and boarded a Taxi for Benalmadena. The rest of the group are off to do their thing and I am sitting on the balcony of the apartment overlooking the gardens and beyond them the blue Mediterranean Sea. I am startled by the sound of my mobile phone.
” Carol it’s me Karen, we are all going clubbing in the Pueblo, are you coming?”
No thanks love I’m going to Chariots bar. See you all later.” I wondered if Benalmadena Town, or Pueblo, as they say in Spanish, was ready for this mini female invasion.
The sun set quickly and I got ready to go out, after my shower and drying my long black hair. Make up on and here I go.
The apartment in Benalmadena was modern and well equipped and being on the twelfth floor had an uninterrupted view out to sea. In reality though it was mainly a place to sleep as the girls and I would spend the days by the pool taking a break for lunch consisting of salad with a little bread and a couple bottles of local wine. We left the air conditioning on and spent the afternoon by the pool. After that it was a matter of going back to the cool apartment to shower, change and the rest of the girls would go out. I would just walk and walk along the beach wondering what I needed to find. Strangely, the pain stayed away while I was there.
 
The last time I had gone alone in the autumn when most of the holidaymakers had gone home. Prior to that trip I had been to my GP again complaining about the pain in my side that I had suffered with all my life but which seemed to be worse that year and he suggested I was suffering from stress related spasms and a break alone may do me good. The pain was like a stabbing and always in the same place on my left side. After that holiday the pain returned.
      This evening I strolled across the gardens passed the swimming pools towards Chariots Bar. The fragrance of the lemon trees and the bushes covered in blue flowers, the constant chirping of the crickets along with the waves caressing the dark beach made me feel so happy and safe. I felt that surge of longing for something or someone whilst knowing this was somehow my place to be.
  I said ‘ola’ to Pepe who was gathering up the sun bed cushions for the night and he promised me, in his broken English, to keep one for me in my usual spot the next day. I thanked and wished him ‘buenos noches’and strolled on.
        In the garden cottage bar I can see they have all the tables laid up for a wedding reception later on this evening. These Spanish may not have a lot of money but when they do something like this they really go to town. The room was filled with the most beautiful fresh flowers set among the polished silver cutlery and sparkling crystal glassware. I looked in and I would guess there were around 200 place settings. These wedding parties usually go on until three or four in the morning and the families from baby to granny leave in their cars with horns blaring in celebration.
 I am continuing my stroll towards Chariots, the local Irish Bar. It is very friendly there and as a woman alone I always feel perfectly safe.
        When the developers started excavating the site for the complex where Chariots is they unearthed the remains of a Roman settlement said to be around three thousand years old. The authorities insisted that the complex of bars and restaurants be built on huge concrete supports above the uncovered Roman ruins creating an amazing historical feature.
        So here I am two thousand, or so, years later, sipping my gin and tonic outside Chariots looking down on the historic Roman remains of a military settlement that in its day would have been home to a thousand Roman soldiers and their slaves.
        The birds circled high in the moonlit sky and those unseen crickets called out to each other adding to the magic of this place. The breeze gently rustled the parasol above my table as I gazed into the ruins, now illuminated from the nearby yellow street lamps my surroundings began to change. I could see the slaves working hard to bake bread and biscuits for the garrison. The master baker was perspiring as he worked alongside the massive clay ovens shouting at the slaves and lashing them if they stopped to take a sip of water or try to breathe outside for a moment. His temper was always evil as he bullied those poor slaves to produce more.
        I noticed a tall girl with long shining black hair. She looked familiar to me. She was of Spanish royal decent, captured by a Roman Centurion and reduced to the level of slave girl. However, while her status had been changed her demeanour and strength of pride had never altered and to herself she was and always would be a Spanish aristocrat.
        My heart started to pound wildly.’ I was that Spanish noblewoman.’ I must get out of this slavery.
        Despite everything I am sure that Marcus the Centurion has an eye for me and I know I love him with all my heart. Whenever I see him I go quite weak at the knees. He is tall with dark hair and the most captivating eyes I have ever seen.
        So, as you can imagine the day the master baker told me to take bread and pastries to the Centurion at his beach villa I was over the moon. I quickly made up and changed my tunic and took the food tray to him, not daring to have eye contact lest my feelings became apparent.
I was obliged by his rank to accept his offer of a goblet of wine but as he got more romantic I felt my pride demanded that I remind him I was a Spanish Princess and that he was a Roman Officer and should behave with more constraint. He abruptly sent me away and told me to tell the Master Baker to send a different slave in future.  
        As I left, tears of anger were rolling down my face but there was no way I would pass that message to the Master Baker even though disobedience could well cost me my life. I knew that man was destined to be mine and who can alter destiny, however improbable.
        Night after night I lay on my bed desperate for him to be holding and kissing me making me a woman: the woman I wanted to be. Eventually I would drop off to sleep in the dark cramped quarters that were my home. Despite my noble birth and background I harboured no plan of escape as I was his, totally his and just waiting to be claimed by him. There was no doubt in my mind.
        It was with some fear and trepidation over the next two days that I took Marcus his bread. I wondered if he would exact some retribution for my disobedience. But no, instead without a look at me he would gruffly tell me to leave the bread on the table and I would leave without another word being spoken.
        On the third day as I turned to leave he bade me to sit and hew poured me a glass of Spanish Wine and pointed to the divan under the parasol on the beach in front of his house. We were alone but I felt no threat just a tingling anticipation of his intentions.
        I was intensely aware of his lithe bronzed body covered by a loin cloth. We sat on the divan and sipped our wine. In broken Spanish he told me how he hated the war and missed his family back in Rome. I asked him if he was married. He smiled and said no. His family was his parents and little sister. He asked me of my background and I told him of my family and home that had been wiped out by the war. He said he was so sorry and gently pulled me closer to him. I could feel the warmth of his breath as he stroked my hair and within moments we were as one and I became a woman. I had become his woman.
Around this time of the year the Moors had begun invading Spain in the South by sending raiding parties to attack along the coast. Unbeknown to us a raiding party of a dozen or so warriors had landed dressed in their full colourful battle dress and armed with deadly spears and knives. One of this group had spotted Marcus’s villa and as he crept around the sand dune could see us bound together blissfully at peace. The warrior, without a moment’s hesitation, threw his razor sharp weapon at us with deadly accuracy. It pinned us to the divan and…
“Signorina, may I join you please?”
I looked up a little confused at this tall handsome Italian man who was looking down at me with the most captivating eyes.
Karen and her new husband came to stay with us in our Rome apartment near to where Marcus works and I am expecting our first baby. My friend was delighted when I told her the pains in my side had gone.
Those Remains certainly changed my life around and my Roman certainly remains.
       

                                                                                                                   

       



 






 
peggles peggles
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Re: The Roman Remains

Good morning Pat,

Interesting piece. It took me to the end to realise this was about reincarnation.

Brilliant showing the pain caused by her death so long ago.

I enjoyed this very different read.



peggles
Pat Linum Pat Linum
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Re: The Roman Remains

TU P. JY helped this one along. TU JY
 
Paul M
 
In a message dated 31/07/2016 07:40:47 GMT Daylight Time, [hidden email] writes:
Good morning Pat,

Interesting piece. It took me to the end to realise this was about reincarnation.

Brilliant showing the pain caused by her death so long ago.

I enjoyed this very different read.



peggles


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peggles peggles
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Re: The Roman Remains

Always so generous with his time


Peggles
Pat Linum Pat Linum
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Re: The Roman Remains

A superb epitaph
PM
 
In a message dated 01/08/2016 08:56:11 GMT Daylight Time, [hidden email] writes:
Always so generous with his time


Peggles


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e.thoday e.thoday
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Re: The Roman Remains

In reply to this post by Pat Linum
Hi, Pat, what a corker of a story! I didn't know how it would end and what a surprise! I wasn't expecting a happy ending. I liked the way it was told, it held my interest all the way through. Elizabeth T.
e.thoday e.thoday
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Re: The Roman Remains

In reply to this post by Pat Linum
Hi, Pat, what a corker of a story! I didn't know how it would end and what a surprise! I wasn't expecting a happy ending. I liked the way it was told, it held my interest all the way through. Elizabeth T.
Pat Linum Pat Linum
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Re: The Roman Remains

T U
 
One guess who helped me a tad???
 
PL
 
In a message dated 13/08/2016 22:44:59 GMT Daylight Time, [hidden email] writes:
Hi, Pat, what a corker of a story! I didn't know how it would end and what a surprise! I wasn't expecting a happy ending. I liked the way it was told, it held my interest all the way through. Elizabeth T.


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