Thursday, September 07, 2023

The Collapse CXVII: Wedding Day

20 June 20XX+1

My Dear Lucilius,

It has been a day.

It all started rather early in the morning, when I was taking my morning tea (which, generally is dilute and cold. I have not quite mastered the art of making my own tea yet after all these years and my ability to extend the life of a tea bag only extends so far). A knock at the door disturbed my early morning Pondering Time. Rather odd of course, as no-one knocks this early.

Opening the door, I found Pompeia Paulina, Statiera, and young Xerxes. And two wheelbarrows full of things.

“Good morning” chirped Pompeia Paulina, not missing a beat as she kissed me on the cheek and handed me a pile of things from the wheelbarrow. “Just put these wherever makes sense” she smiled as she grabbed another pile herself and sidled through the door.

Apparently it is moving day.

I am not one for disorder and chaos Lucilius, and for almost two hours that is exactly what I had. Trips back and forth to the wheelbarrow (mostly Young Xerxes and myself) as Statiera and Pompeia Paulina began organizing and sorting. My armoire (there is no closet) is now 50% full of things that do not belong to me and my chest of drawers has been helpfully rearranged to make room for someone else’s feminine things.

Also, it is apparent I am now considering decorating in Southwestern colors.

And then like that, they disappeared – Pompeia Paulina with another kiss on the cheek and a reminder to “be sure and dress nicely” and Statiera just beaming. Young Xerxes at least had the dignity to look embarrassed at the matter – although I suppose he had already endured this or was about to.

Dress nicely. Sigh. Another thing I had not counted on.

Digging through my now filled storage closet, I found at shirt that had an actual collar and pants that seems to lack major holes or stains. When was the last time I had “dressed up”? Last year for the Fourth of July? Almost a year ago? Had it been that long?

There is no iron of course, so I hung things up and hoped for the best. At least my boots could undergo another polishing, which helped to calm my mind.

I spent the rest of the morning doing the morning chores and trying to straighten up a bit from the cyclone that had blown through in the morning. It is odd, this realization that in a few hours time, my solitude here in this fashion would be at an end. An entirely new chapter was starting in the period of 24 hours.

Perhaps not a new chapter, now that I think about it. More a continuation of an existing one, picked up at a later point.

Rather quickly in spite of my maundering, the time was upon me. Looking as “duded up” as a gentleman living in the midst of an economic collapse could, I stepped out the door.

Armed, of course. One only, ever, goes out armed anymore.

The Post Office had been converted into a marriage chapel – apparently we were not the only ones that had decided that “today was the day” as there were 6 couples there. The pastor from the next town over had ridden over on his horse to do the ceremony. Married by a circuit preacher – my historical heart, at least, was gratified. The room was full – so full, in fact, that we ended up moving everything outside to accommodate what constituted an actual happy event, devoid of the issues swirling around us.

How did Pompeia Paulina look? Somehow she had managed to hold onto an evening gown in which she looked...Tremendous? Elegant? Intoxicating? It is not often my vocabulary fails me, Lucilius, but for one of the few times of my life I found myself legitimately and completely speechless.

Comparatively I was under dressed – but as this is often the case, what was so different today?

The ceremony itself was brief, the pastor speaking the general words that most pastors do during such things but also said something that stuck in my head: Marriage is always an investment in the future, but now more than ever, marriage was a realization both that in the current environment two were better than one and that truly, marriage today spoke to the belief that there was a future out there to believe in, even if we could not see it now.

With that, we were all married.

Someone (I suspect Pompeia Paulina, but she would not confess) had gone to the trouble to make sure that there were cookies and coffee for after the ceremony. Not quite the elaborate wedding cake of years past, but all the more enjoyed for the fact that it truly was a special occasion.

After dispersing (after all, a wedding is a wedding but there are chores to do), we went back to what likely now is Young Xerxes and Statiera’s house. Not only had Pompeia Paulina and Statiera managed to look amazing for the wedding, they had prepared a dinner for us. Nothing fancy of course – not much is fancy at this point – vegetables and fish and as a treat, white wine – but special all in its own way.

I had planned to spend more time after dinner talking with Young Xerxes about what else he knew, but kept getting looks from Pompeia Paulina (My wife. I suppose I should start using the phrase “my wife” now) until I finally got the idea that maybe the discussion could wait until later. Everyone again congratulated everyone all around and we took our leave.

The walk back to the Cabin was pleasantly quiet. We strolled arm in arm through the evening sun with the sounds of children playing and dogs barking and the occasional laugh. If one had not known better and been willing to let go of the lack of automobile noise, it would have seemed like an ordinary evening.


Lucilius – I have reliably informed that although I may have more to write, I must end this missive short. Apparently even my writing time is no longer fully my own.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca


  1. Nylon123:51 AM

    Ah ha.....adjustments as Seneca has learned and will continue for some time............ :)

    1. Nylon12, I am set in my ways and I have been married for 30 years. One can only imagine the disruption of being alone and then...

  2. Reminds me of that first year after I got married. All my things started migrating to lesser used rooms, then to the garage and eventually disappeared until one day I realized, that everything was "ours".

    1. Ed, much the same. Amazing how much of this is a shared "mine" but the things I would actually consider mine in the representative sense are small locations in that larger home.

  3. Anonymous4:56 AM

    Mazal Tov Senaca. Piece of advice - consider your words before speaking them. Many things can be forgiven but some will never be forgotten.

    1. Seneca was married once before but his wife passed away (referenced in the very early letters, as I recall). I assume he remembers the ground rules. I also suspect that, like many who live alone, he has taken to not speaking much at home. It should be an interesting transition.

    2. Indeed! "Forgiveness" and "forgetness" are NOT the same!!!

    3. Agreed (he says as he keeps reminding himself...)!

  4. I'm a little worried about Seneca. He seems to be acting on impulse. I'm not sure that's the best way to get married. One the other hand, unusual times change many things.

    1. Leigh, I believe it to be a combination of 1) Unusual circumstances; and 2) Efficiently tying up loose ends. As he is effectively a bachelor and to the best of his knowledge unlikely to see family again, he was simply doing the (to him) logical thing of providing for his estate in a way that be uncontestable, even in current circumstances (and knowing him, largely to make sure someone looks after the rabbits, bees, and quail as he would).

      To be fair to him as well, I really do not think he expected his offer to be embraced with the enthusiasm it apparently was.

      It does raise a pretty interesting series of questions about how social structures like marriage and family change in things like civil war and civic disturbances - or perhaps better asked, what it would look like in a modern society when traditional social units have been largely impacted.

    2. Oddly enough "Traditional Structures" like Male + Female Marriage and men vs women's roles often become stronger.

      You'd think that the facts that "Trans-Men" in female sprots kicking their butts and destroying their records in all categories "MIGHT" be a clue.

      Men and women in general have skillsets they are best at, there is some overlap. Female snipers have been very good at their jobs.

      Seems in hard times old tried and true things return and "Faddish trends" (See I CAN be PC, LOL) like homosexual relations replacing the breeding human marriage fade out.

      “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”
      ― G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain

    3. Michael, I suspect you are right. As in many things, in tough times people go with what works.

  5. I'll be the designated simpleton here. If he's lucky, he's gonna get lucky. Love brings luck.

    1. TM, I am a simply guy as well. Sometimes it is enough simply to be happy for someone.


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