Home » Uncategorized » Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Calgacus

Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Calgacus

Calgacus sat at the table in the corner and looked at the girl. The girl sat on the other side of the table and looked at him. There was a gentle silence. Calgacus gave in first.
‘Why me?’ he asked Vita.
The Taverna was now closed for the night. Exuperatus had gone out on an errand. Every so often the noise of Senodo falling over something echoed up from the cellar behind the bar, followed by a muffled exclamation that could have been either swearing, or possibly an apology.
‘I don’t know,’ Vita admitted as she quickly inspected the state of the floor,’ I just knew I was not going to outrun the soldiers and needed somewhere to hide. And you’re not a Roman. You just have a face I thought I could trust.’
‘Which I find odd as I’m a local here, Catuvellauni blood for generations – and you’re clearly not, little one. Do you know where your mother hailed from? From the North perhaps, considering that distinctive eyes and hair combination.’
Vita ran her fingers through her short hair. Calgacus realised then she was still upset at its loss.
‘Sorry Vita, I didn’t think.’
‘That’s alright. I need to get over it anyway. Mother, I think, was one of the Brigantes. She followed a soldier down from the Northern Frontier. He would have been my father, probably.’
‘You aren’t curious?’
‘No. I don’t really miss my mother either. Sorry to shock you, but I was a complication she could have done without as well and told me so frequently,’ the girl paused, ’that seems to be all I am. An annoying complication in people’s lives…’
Calgacus looked at the girl and didn’t know what to say. Maybe honesty was the best policy even if it made him uncomfortable.
‘I don’t mind you complicating my life, Vita.’
The girl looked up.
‘You’re just saying that.’
‘No. I mean it,’ now it was out he laughed in relief,’ I’ve led the most boring existence you can imagine. I get up, I do simple heavy work building the Empire, I eat, I drink too much and I go to the toilet. That’s about it.’
‘You don’t have a wife?’
Calgacus shook his head.
‘Never met anyone who didn’t drive me mad after a few hours, and if I’m going to let someone run my life they had better be something special. I’ve spent time with the Vicus girls of course, who hasn’t, but…’ He blushed as he realised what he was saying to a young girl. Vita just laughed.
‘I’m the least innocent person here, Cal. I do know what happens between men and women.’
‘Sorry. Anyway, I don’t see myself marrying. I like to make my own decisions.’
‘Then you don’t want me complicating things. I’m a woman. Well, under this boy’s tunic.’
Vita jokingly looked down her front to emphasise the point.
Calgacus laughed.
‘Not yet you’re not. Maybe I’ll put up with you for a while and finally turn you out when you can’t hide as a boy anymore because you actually are a woman. Do we have a deal?’
Vita got off the stool and solemnly kissed Calgacus on the cheek.
‘That’s says we have a deal,’ she added.
Calgacus kissed her back, also on the cheek. It seemed the right thing to do.
‘And now you need to go home and get some rest,’ said Vita,’ you’ve had enough wine for tonight.’
Calgacus looked at her perfectly serious face and realised that he was not going to be able to argue with her.
He had a nagging feeling that something had just changed beyond his control. But tonight at least he would stay in denial.

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