21 August 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
Thank you for your missive of 19 August 20XX. I am indeed very pleased to hear that my e-mails continue to arrive and that you are as well as can be expected, given the circumstances. It is comforting to me as well to know that you have seen Sextus as well and that he is doing as well as you are – as well as we all can be, given the times. Send my greetings on to him and Placidia and their family the next time you see them.
You are rather a sly old dog to just mention offhand in the middle of the letter that you and Augusta had suddenly married! What joy I have in an old friend finding love again! The timing for these things is always suspect – frankly, I cannot imagine a more “interesting” time to start as a newlywed all over again. Even in times of chaos, the human spirit can still try new things. This comforts me greatly.
You asked me about the offer that Sextus had made to you and Augusta, about moving in with them until things parse themselves out. My opinion (as it is what you asked me for) is that you should do this as quickly as time and circumstances allow. It is what – a 10 mile trip one way to his house? Easy enough to transport you, your new lovely bride, and your library to his house for the duration, especially if he and Placidia are willing. There is nothing that would make my heart more glad than to know that you (and your wife, apparently!) were somewhere as safe as you can be in the current circumstances.
And how troubling they sound, Lucilius. The stories I read are the sorts of stories I remember reading about Mogadishu and Kabul and Harare, once upon a time in my youth: riots, violence, a breakdown of basic social services and basic utilities. The videos are at best appalling and at worst, disturbing. The written reports I can find – not all of them through the effectively approved government media, of course – paint an equally disturbing picture. And behind all of it, the looming specter of a lack of fuel, which eventually means a lack of ability to go anywhere else.
I do appreciate you and Augusta’s concern (as well as Sextus’ from what you said) about myself. Please be at ease, and put others at ease as well. I am indeed effectively on my own, but I am in a place where that is not the obstacle that it would be in an urban setting. And there is a community of sorts around me – the same ones that produced our July 4th extravaganza – that I occasionally see glimmers of a larger sort of social contract which might emerge (although I question that this is the tabula rasa that Rousseau was referring to). I am well provided, well fed, and well-libraried up (if that is a thing), and the rabbits bear with my occasional bouts of loneliness well.
Be careful and be well, my friend. Take Sextus up on his generous offer.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca.
P.S. I note that your missive was completely devoid of pictures. Good heavens Lucilius: if you can create and forward a letter, you can surely forward the pixels that make up the wedding photos. Get with it, man! I have not seen you in a tuxedo in almost 40 years – I demand photographic evidence that this actually occurred!