I want to tell you the tale of what happened to my Valentine, his bravery has to be told, and the Emperor’s wickedness needs to be known, but I think he is doing a good job showing it already.
Before I speak of my husband’s death, I would want to share with you our letters we write to each other everyday. He was no monster; his only fault was loving me.
Now this was among the first letters of our trouble days when we learnt of the rule of Emperor Claudia
My dear Emily, Emperor Claudia has enforced a law that restricts me from being with you, he claims we young men need no woman and has banned marriage. He thinks a wife would distract us during our service but my love he doesn’t know my strength is from the thought of you everyday. I now have to serve as a soldier, but before I leave, I know a man who performs secret ceremonies and I want to know you are mine forever.
FROM YOUR VALENTINE
My love valentine, I don’t think it’s safe we go on seeing each other. I can’t risk the fact of losing you, Emperor Claudius is a wicked man, and he will have no mercy on you if you get caught for disobeying him. I am not worth this; I can’t watch you die.
FROM YOUR FORBIDDEN LOVE
Your heart is so kind-hearted and sweet, that is why I love you more each passing day. You don’t need to worry about my death because it wouldn’t happen, I’ll be by your side till we get old. We wouldn’t get caught because we send letters secretly each day and meet at the hours when everyone sleeps. Your only worry should be what to wear for the ceremony.
FROM YOUR VALENTINE
Days passed and it was a day before the ceremony, just like always my Valentine would have written me a letter by now and left it under a plank in a location I best keep a secret, but I haven’t heard from him.
Was he too scared to marry me, maybe he was caught on the way, the thoughts killed me.
I went back to the location to check again, on my way I was dragged by a hand to a dark corner and I saw him, my Valentine. He told me he had to see me before the ceremony. He took the risk to see me during the day just to encourage me everything would be fine.
As long as I was concerned, no man was as brave as my Valentine. We didn’t meet till the day of the ceremony, but we never forgot to send letters. Later at night, we did our usual ritual.
My dear Emily, tomorrow you will finally be mine forever and I will be the luckiest man in the town. If not for the rules I would have shouted your name out loud and made it known to everyone in town that you are mine. Oh, how I can’t wait to call you my wife. I know how much you wanted the ceremony in the church, so I found a way to make it possible. At 11 pm, meet me at the St. Michael catholic church in the basement, the priest will be there.
FROM YOUR VALENTINE
Oh, my courageous love, I can’t wait to call you mine too. I will wear a simple white dress, it is still sad I can’t wear a wedding dress, but it doesn’t matter when the man I am getting married to is you.
FROM YOU FORBIDDEN LOVE
At 11 pm I got dressed and wore a coat to cover my dress and avoid suspicion. I went down the basement of the chapel and saw my Valentine, as dashing as ever. The priest was also there, so we had no time to waste and hurried to finish the ceremony to have time to ourselves before the sunrises.
I will cut the story short because it’s a brief tale. We planned to leave that forsaken town a week after if only we knew what will happen next we would have gone immediately we said: “I do”.
Five days after the ceremony, my husband was arrested, how I found out wasn’t pleasing. I went in search of food and saw people gathered around, I asked what was happening, and a man told me “the priest that marries lovers secretly has been caught”.
I was sad because he married my Valentine and me. I went forward to say my last thank you, only to see my Valentine on the stocks awaiting his execution.
I began to cry and knelt before him and asked what happened, he told me that the priest that wedded us is also named “Valentine“. I wasn’t shocked because Valentine was a common name around here that’s why I always say “my valentine” but even at that what happened, why the mix-up.
He told me someone saw him go into chapel one night, which I knew was the day we wedded and later reported to the Emperor. I was angry, and the tear kept flowing then I asked him “Why would some do this, why didn’t he say he wasn’t the one,” my thoughts kept racing.
You wouldn’t believe what my husband told me. He said he was protecting the priest and also me.
If he said he wasn’t the Valentine, they would still be in search of the priest and lovers wouldn’t marry like we did and he also has to say why he was there at night and knowing my Valentine he wouldn’t lie because he was a man of principle and if he can’t lie that means death for both him and me.
How can a man be so loving even to death?
He begged me to leave before the Emperor sees me with him, but I refused to go, I wanted to die with him. Then he started crying, and that’s when I broke, my Valentine was crying, he said the only reason he can face this is knowing I’m still alive that I should please go and I promised to do so.
I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t even kiss him goodbye because that can cause my death. So all I said was “goodbye my valentine, I will love you forever,” then I wailed my way back home.
My Valentine was executed that day, and I was beyond broken because I lost my love.
Do you want to know what hurt me the most? It’s that the priest was later caught some months later because of some people. Why do they detest love?
When I heard the news, it felt like my husband’s death was for nothing, I cried the more because my Valentine was the real hero to the story, he died for the priest, the soon to be wedded couple, and especially me but no one knew his story, but I’m glad you do now.
Do me a favour, promise me you will tell my husband’s story to others, don’t let his death be a waste because he was the real hero.