De Immortalitate – Immortality
Disclaimer: The characters of Twilight are owned by Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended at any point.
The Latin poet Horace believed that, with his literary works, he was raising a monument more permanent than brass.
"I shall not wholly die,"he affirmed. "Large residue shall escape the queen of funerals." Isn't literary glory an amazing way to overcome Death?
The poem makes me smile every time I read it. "Ever new my after fame shall grow, while pontiffs climb with silent maids the Capitolian height," he wrote. It seemed far too pretentious in those times. The pontiffs and the College of the Vestal Virgins had had their rites in Rome for centuries before Horace's birth, and they were supposed to last forever. Today, many centuries after Horace's death, his literary works are still read and studied worldwide, while the temple of Vesta was closed in 391 and Coelia Concordia, the last vestal virgin in history, stepped down from her post in 394. More than sixteen hundred years ago.
Sometimes it seems to me that nothing remains of the world where Antonius and I met and fell in love. On other days, it seems that, under the surface of all the time we have spent together, nothing has been lost.
We have always tried to retain as much of our humanity as possible; the fact that Antonius and I from the very beginning found a way to live off animals helped us immensely to accept our condition as vampires.
I didn't lose my religion. I'm still Christian, even after all these centuries, and Antonius embraced my faith shortly after my change. But what surprises us most is that, after almost two millennia, religious discrimination and harassment are still a reality. One of my students once told me that war is one of the few constants in human history.
He was one of many students I have had since women were allowed to become teachers and professors. The passion for literature I shared with Antonius is very much alive, even now. I've been a teacher of several subjects in different schools, since we have to relocate often to keep up our charade, but my students are most impressed by my Latin. They often tell me that it seems I've always spoken it and don't know how right they are.
In contrast, Antonius has traveled different roads. An economist, historian, anthropologist and musician over the years, the only path he has never followed is that of a soldier.
My husband and I still travel a lot, and sometimes we go back to Italy. We have visited Rome only a few times, and we never went back to where the ruins of Antonius' villa are still visited by tourists.
We never saw Aro or Felix again.
Every time we return to our home country, we visit my city. I remember my parents there, I walk along the beach –if the weather allows it in the daytime– and I share the memories of my childhood with Antonius. I lost some of them during my change, but Antonius recalled everything I had told him during our imprisonment and helped me to remember. It's another thing I am grateful to him for.
I still call him Antonius, but now he uses a new name. He chose it a long time ago, and I think it was a way to cut the last ties with Felix. Antonius, whose name was Antonius Masus Felicii, goes by Edward Cullen nowadays. Or better, he went to Anthony Edward Masen and then to Edward Anthony Cullen.
We have new names and a new life. We had believed that the Pillars of Hercules were the ultimate border of the world. Instead, we found the world was larger: we moved to the United States. There, we met another vampire who fed on animals' blood and we joined his coven.
These days, Antonius poses as Carlisle Cullen's brother. Carlisle became Antonius' best friend, and my husband says that Carlisle and his wife Esme remind him so much of his preceptor, Caile, and of his wet-nurse, Esma.
When we talk about eternal life, we remind ourselves that even our life on this Earth, although so long, isn't eternal. Time and history will come to an end, too.
We have some beloved people who are waiting for us –my parents, Antonius' mother, Esma, Sextius, Alica and Jaspis– and we are sure that one day, sooner or later, we will finally meet them again.
The world around us has changed many, many times, and it can be overwhelming, even for supernatural beings. But when Antonius holds me in his arms and we make love, I know where our past, present and future are. He will always be my haven, as long as we both shall live.
Finis – The End
Bella refers to Horace, Odes, III, 30, "Exegi monumentum."
Thank you to all of you. You made this experience both exciting and rewarding for me beyond belief.
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