Their last breathe I take a seat on the cold stone bench of the arena. The rumble of the crowd fades into my head; the thick July air makes it hard to breathe. It is not my fight but my nerves acts as if it is, shaking in anticipation and fear. The competitors take their places on opposing ends of the field. I’m too far away to see their faces behind their masks but I can feel the adrenaline flow through my body and know that It doesn’t compare to what they must be feeling; knowing that this could be their last minutes alive. I wonder what they did to deserve this.
Was It a crime of vengeance that earned hem a spot In this place; or were they Just an Innocent slave that Isn’t entitled to this harsh of sentence? One gladiator charges forward to begin this blood bath. HIS challenger shelters himself with his shield, knowing that he has to strike back or be killed. I watch In amazement of the sheer strength that these men have derived from the thought that failure was not an option. The sight of the crimson liquid spewing from one of the competitors makes me nauseous; this is undoubtedly the cruelest thing I’ve ever witnessed: yet it steals my attention.
I need to know what happens next. I need to see who comes out alive, but a sudden blare or a horn bring me back to reality and I realize is now 1956 years later and I am actually standing in Rome, holding a ticket for the famed coliseum. There is so much that has happened there that it is so intriguing. My feet have blisters from what seems like miles that we have walked, it’s about 3:30 p. M. But I feel much more tired from the jet lag. It hasn’t quite set in that I’m in Rome, Italy. It Just doesn’t seem real yet. We are headed to the coliseum; I can’t wait to take pictures of it because it’s such a famous landmark.
We already have tickets so we skip the massive amount of tourist that have the same plan as we do. We are following our guide that I stopped listening to 10 minutes ago because of her strong Italian accent and speed of talking. The stonewalls are chipped and are as coarse as sandpaper. Time and Mother Nature has spotted the stones. Instantly, I am intrigued by the stories the walls have to tell. What has this place held? It smells of heavy summer heat and of must. The smell reminds me of my grandma’s old basement. The entrance into the theater is grand.
The high archways aka feel as if all eyes are in me as I walk In, even though everyone seems to be lost In their own thoughts. The sound of my camera clicking Just reminded me that I forgot to turn my headset back on. Her voice seems slower now, “Do you see that cross directly across the floor from us? ” she seems to be asking with a heavy heart, her voice Is deeper and her eyes are filled with sadness. I look and see a cross that almost blends In with the column behind It, but now Is extremely obvious “that the cross was put up to remind us of all the Christians that were killed by Nero here.
She Is talking about were the slaves were held, the middle of the grounds. Half of It Is covered with looks like wood that was recently put there, that doesn’t fit the decaying walls around it. But the other half is lower than that. It has rows of walls with doors in them, in between the cells is grass that seems too bright of green to go with the dark shades of brown that are all around it. The walls are a maze of crumbling doorways and ruble. Now it feels real. I am in Rome, Italy. I am standing in the breath. It is remarkable to think of this place in its prime.
The architecture to this day astounds me, even with section of wall that has been lost over time. There are segments of it that are being preserved, most likely to keep tourist safe, but the shiny scaffolding doesn’t fit the feel of history that arises off the dull sandstone walls. I can’t stop thinking of this place filled with people cheering on gladiators. The seats are made of an off-white marble that has specs of gold, time has taken a toll on it but it is still a spectacular sight like a fine wine that gets better with time.
The air is hot but he seats are still cold, the seating is what is best preserved with only small portions of them missing. I see a bright yellow umbrella held in the air, which is our tour guides signal that we have to go to the next place. We might have to leave now but this place now but the thoughts of all the gladiators that triumphed and all of those who have fallen will never leave my mind. The place is so filled with history that it is amazing to be able to say that I have been here. I won’t be able to forget the feel of the dirt beneath my feet and the feeling of the coolest place I’ve ever been.