The august man broke through: “What have I done?”
Tall, steady, his tunic flowing as he gracefully flew from room to room, his breath heavy and his nose hairs prickling. This was a man who once had everything, but in a few blinding seconds, time had become corrupt, his heart wretched and his mind a maelstrom of morning fog and evening darkness; black and white was no longer a possibility.
“I am a man of honor. I am a Senator in the city of Rome, in the Empire of the Romans. I am a man of honor. How is it, then, that I fail my own blood—
“How is it that I fail my own son?”
A boy is a man before his time. A hope is a dream when reality is attached. A miracle is a dream becoming reality without a warning. And his son, he thought, was a miraculous boy: “What a melodic mind. What a sharp intelligence. Would it be too much for me to claim that he could have made Ovid blush? But no, for he is my son, and I know him better than anyone else.”
His heart was not enough, though, as the man sighed. His lips began to tremble as tears came down on his face. Had winds swept up the waters of Ostia? Had his face become a grave for the rivers that had become airborne? Craters on his aged face became visible due to the moisture.
And then he realized: It was he who forced his son to go into battle, to prove himself as a man, to accelerate his movement up the hierarchy. “But father, you are a Senator.” “But son, you are nothing.” Cornering the nearest exit, the father had begun to cry. Nothing? How could he call his son nothing? He couldn’t, yet he did. Yet he did.
It was only seven months later that a messenger arrived from the eastern front: “We are sorry to notify you that your son has been killed in battle against the tyrant Chrosroes.” The Parthians were not a friendly lot. How could he send him there? Yet he did, and this was its result.
His son’s mother—his wife—maddeningly came down the hall. “Marcus? Marcus!” But it was too late. A cry of anger, sadness and anguish—of a child lost, of a chance missed, of regret and love—he had taken a knife, with power unparalleled, to his chest.
“It was I who killed you, and it is I who shall avenge on your death.”