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WITH CELEBRATION COMES LOSS


Julia Valeria
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December 73 AD

Saturnalia had arrived once again- one of those holidays that she had enjoyed as a child, but during her slavery years found it painful. While the slaves around her enjoyed having the roles reversed and being treated like nobility for the duration, it was a reminder of what had been horrifically taken from her. It was a reminder, on top of the regular reminder she received from her master, that the direction of her life had reversed. When she was restored to her patrician status Saturnalia became ‘fun’ again although often found herself in limbo between the slaves and nobility. She had seen what it meant to be at the lowest of society and knew what it was like to be towards the top.

With her marriage to Canus, in a way she had found herself again in the limbo state. There were those like her son who simply wanted to see her happy, Alaric who had given her husband a reason to be and her by extension and then there were many who despised her husband for what had occurred during the civil uprising. To Julia, he was her husband and simply a man who had been doing what he was ordered and by extension was put into a situation that haunted him to this day. It haunted him not only in his dreams but also his health routinely suffered. While the entire city of Rome was celebrating the holiday of Saturnalia, Julia once again sat at her husband’s beside nursing him through another bout of sickness. He would have his good days and appear to be on the mend, then his fever would spike and he would become delirious. In his moments of delirium, he would cry out, apologize repeatedly for what he had done and then he would slip into a comatose state. Julia had sent word to her step children informing them that their father had once again become ill and it was the worst round yet. She told them to keep him in their thoughts, but she suspected this would be the last- it would be a miracle if he recovered. She also had word sent to her son just as a heads up.

Day by day passed and one day Canus took her hand rather weakly, apologized for leaving her. “Don’t you worry about that- if this is truly the end you can go knowing that I will survive like I always have.” Canus looked directly at her, nodded his head and gave up his last breath. Julia, sat alone, next to the body and unbidden the tears began to fall. She had entered a new stage in life- that of a ‘widow’.

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