Pompeii a city frozen in time as the guide books say. Personally I would call it boiled rather than frozen. In AD 79 it ceased to be, or did it just sleep for a while and then become immortal.
You can wander its empty streets, around its cafes bars and bakehouses and imagine you are there. I don't have to imagine; I can see it. All my life I have seen the living dead. No chain rattling horrors, just ordinary people living their last day over and over, a repeating record of existence.
Pompeii is a dream for me. I wander abroad early in the morning and late at night before they close. I even slept there once, that was an experience. Bars and brothels teeming with perpetual life. Drunken fights, gambling and whoring.
Pompeii was a new town, upwardly mobile and soon to hit that volcanic glass ceiling.
My favourite couple live in an apartment building a 'Vicus' where the poor reside. They are young and in love, newly married I suspect. He is home from work and she has supper ready in a bowl on the table. They eat by the light of a smoky little lamp. He teases her and she laughs. I can't hear them only see.
She sits on his knee and whispers into his ear. He smiles and pats her belly it is obvious that she has just told him that they will soon be three. Only they won't of course, the child will never be born.
Tonight they will lay curled up together on their simple little bed, the young man, his wife and their unborn child. This is where they will stay, forever. The volcano will blow, he will never get old and drunk and hit her or cheat on her. She won't become a toothless nagging drudge with a dozen kids to feed.
It all ends here, tonight with them young and happy. A plaster cast on the floor of their simple room. If you are going to be flung out of existence and have your life cut violently short I can think of worse ways to go.
Perpetual happiness is not a bad exchange. For them it is a sort of heaven, not paradise lost but paradise gained and endlessly repeated.
The site is closing now I had better be going myself. Back to home for my own bowl of food.
Tomorrow I will be out among the tourists for treats and pats. It's not a bad life being an Archaeologists' dog.