It was in the middle of the night when Cornelia heard a cry.
“Gaius!”, was her first thought. “Clemens, Gaius is crying!” she wanted to wake up Clemens but her husband wasn’t in their bedroom.
She decided to first look after the baby, after that she would look for Clemens.
She got up and went to Gaius’ room.
“Oh, my dear son, why are you crying?” she comforted her son and held him in her hands while she was searching her husband.
She found him at the shrine of household gods/lararium. He was quietly speaking to the household gods: “Why ... why did you have to kill them? Now I have to live on having a bad conscience because I wasn’t able to serve my master. I couldn’t save him ... but YOU could! Why didn’t you save him?” He was crying.
“What are you doing here, Clemens?”, Cornelia asked.
Clemens turned around to her: “Eheu! What are YOU doing here?”
“Gaius was crying. Then I searched for you, because you weren’t in the bedroom. Why are you crying? What is going on?”
“I had a bad dream. It reminded me of my past ...”
“Your life in Pompeii?”
He sighed: “Yes. I just can’t forget the things that happened there. I simply can’t forget all this injustice.”
“What injustice are you talking about?”
“The Vesuvius’ eruption.”
“But you’ve told me, since that exact day, you’re a free man. I think that’s no injustice, that’s a good thing.”
“Yes, that’s right. But my master and his wife and his son died that day ... everyone is dead ...”
“Well, yes, a lot of people in Pompeii died because of the eruption-”
“You don’t understand what I’m talking about!”, he interrupted her: “My master, his name was Caecilius, he died right before my eyes! I was with him in his last moments. I was with him as he took his last breath ... he was always so kind. And I couldn’t save him ... I should have died in his place ...”
“Don’t say such awful things, Clemens! You deserve to live! Please, try to forget your past. You need to realise how good your new life is. Me, your son, your new family. I’m happy that you’re here and alive today.”
“Oh, Cornelia, I love you” he kissed her.
“I love you”
Gaius was already sleeping when the couple went to bed again.