John Palcewski (forioscribe) wrote,
John Palcewski

Exile on Ventotene

In 2 BC Emperor Augustus exiled his promiscuous daughter Giulia Agripinna to the island of Ventotene, which on a clear day is visible from my terrace. She was confined on the northern tip of the island in Pandateria, a large villa constructed of white marble and full of beautiful frescoes, luxurious thermal baths, and of course many servants. While her father called her “a disease of my flesh,” she nevertheless was a witty and intelligent woman loved by the people of Rome. The farmers and fishermen of Ventotene admired her as well and regularly brought her gifts of fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat.

“Remember how you spoke about Ventotene?” Vittoria said yesterday.
“Yes,” I replied. “I can see it right now, from my window.”
“I had a dream last night that you took me there, and put me in this large mansion, and you had a heavy chain around my ankle with a lock on it and you said when the tourist season is over that will come off.”
“Excellent. WAY excellent!”
“But I tried to get you to take it off. Of course I won't tell you how.”
“I know how.”
“I’m sure you do. I almost had you in the palm of my hand!”
I laughed. “Which I was hoping for all along!”

“Then you said, ‘Is this is what you’re looking for?’ And you took the key from your pocket.”
“Did I give it to you?”
“No you didnt give it to me.”
“Why not?”
“Because you’re pretty tough. In my dreams anyway. You told me I would get the key soon as the island was empty and when no more boats came.”
“A good idea. That way I'd know where you were.”
“Yep. And you went back to reading. Guess what I did then?”
“You started talking to some other man on your cell phone?”
“No, I got the dishes in the kitchen and broke them one by one. You said, ‘Look what you’ve done. Now I won’t have a plate to eat on.’ You weren’t really that mad, though, because you said, ‘So you want me to let you free? You want the chain off?’ That got me to smile. Guess what you did?”
“Tell me.”
“You kissed me on my forehead.”
“Interesting, because I used to do that a lot when I was with you in America.”
“Well, anyway, as you were kissing me I put my hands slowly in your pocket.”
“You little DEVIL!”
“Yep, and you know why I did that. But then you showed me where the key was: Right under your tongue.”
“Now that’s interesting.”
“Yeah, it gets even more interesting.”
“Tell me.”
“You said, ‘If you want it, then get it with your tongue.’”
“I was a bit pissed. But anyway I attempted to get it, but somehow I pushed it too far back in your mouth.”
“Did I choke?”
“No, you just swallowed it.”
“So then you were mine forever! No escape for you.”
“Seemed that way. I was so mad. I said, ‘You better figure out a way to get me that key.”
“And then you came near and kissed me again.”
“And then?”
“Well, you know.”
“So one thing led to another, right?”
“You picked me up and took me to a huge bed that had a canopy on top of it. You know, one of those old English royalty beds. Thick dark wood, dark velvet tapestries.”

Vittoria paused.

“Now it’s your turn to tell me what happened next.”
“OK. I put you on the bed and put the fear of God right into you.”
“That’s cheating. You need to start from the beginning.”
“Well, all right. I kissed you ever so gently on your forehead. And I adjusted the silk-covered pillow so that you were comfy. And then I put many light kisses on your cheeks, and your chin, and then on your lips."
“Nice. So go on.”
“And kisses in the crook of your neck. Soft, gentle kisses.”
“Sounds very sweet.”
“I nibbled your ear. And you tugged on my earlobe as I did that, like you always do when we’re in each other’s arms.”
“And I whispered a favorite poem in your ear...”
“Recite it for me now.”
’How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...’

And so on, to the very end.


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