In Rome, everything that has ever been done has been done there. Whatever will happen has already happened there. Roman air is thick with history and the millions of spoken words that have ever been spoken.
I’m sure that Bob was not the first to stop and climb atop the fallen marble in the Forum in the middle of a hot, summer night, the first man to orate the speech that Brutus gives to the throng of citizens after the murder of Julius Caesar.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
—Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
But it was the last time that Bob would ever say those words to his wife, who cried from the sincerity of it, from the emotion of it. From the knowledge that it would never happen again.
They’d been married for a number of years before he was diagnosed with bone cancer – the kind of cancer where his body became encased in bone, as if he was a knight wrapped up in a suit of armor. It was a terminal disease and it was unlikely that he would ever feel better or get better. When he was diagnosed, that was about as good of health as he’d ever be in again.
They decided to take a trip to Rome, the Eternal City.
Once all the tourists had been packed up and moved along in their buses, it left space for others to roam around the ruins. And so walked Bob with his wife into that hot summer night, now left to themselves, wrapped up in their love for each other and the magic of the moment.
They strolled among the ruins imagining the city as it once was: thriving, living, evolving. And saw it as it is now: fallen, ruined, but not forgotten. It is how it is for all of us.
Even though it had all been said before, done before, it didn’t stop him from speaking words that have been spoken before – but not to each other, not in that time, not in that moment – and that, that made it everlasting.