Weekly Short Story

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Beneath the Balcony

Romeo Montague sat by the garden wall.  Listening to the noises of the soft Verona night, his mind plagued with melancholy thoughts.  

 “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”  He said, remembering angrily the mocking words of Mercutio only moments before.  The other had come seeking him along with Benvolio, but Mercutio had seemed more interested in his crass remarks.

 What know him of pain?  What know him of fire?

 Of the flame that sears my heart even now?

 He cries out ‘Rosaline’, but what matter,

 For she has become as a ghost to me.

 A shade, a shadow, ashes since grown cold.

 Her name no longer ignites the fire,

 For now another holds the burning brand

 Whose very light doth surpass e’en the sun.

 A wry chuckle escaped the young man’s lips.  It’s sound mingled both melancholy and ironic mirth.

 Verily, it would seemeth fate’s decree

 That I love only the fair and lovely

 Daughters of my house’s most hated foe.

 What will they think e’er they discover

 That the name of the one who holds my heart

 Is Capulet, a name whose sound is hate?

 Capulet, whose very intonations,

 Doth cry out for the drawing of swords.

 Romeo looked up at the stars, but they held no answers for his unspoken questions.  They simply twinkled merrily down at him, completely oblivious to him and all the world.  Once more anger overtook the young man.

 Fie on thee, oh feckless heavenly lights!

 Why must ye, in all thy indifference,

 Cause me to yearn for that which cannot be?

 Oh Juliet, How I long to see thee.

 A glimpse of you would feed my hungry soul.

 If only thou scorned me like Rosaline,

 Then could time at last heal my wounded heart.

 But nay, just as my heart burns for thee

 In my soul I know thou returns my love.

 Alas the stars that have brought you to me,

 Have been fated to tear our love in twain.

 I feel this truth within my very bones.

 And yet what alternative can there be?

 Both choices lead towards separation.

 Does it truly matter which we choose?

 The slow agony of what should ne’er be?

 Or the sharp, harsher pain of severance?

  My mind says to avoid the greater pain, 

While my heart cries out, shun the slow torture!

Is there no third path, which we may yet tread?

A noise from above jolted Romeo from his musing.  Moving away from the wall, he backed up until he could see the balcony clearly.  The light curtains flickered with movement and the sight set his young heart to pounding even faster.

Juliet, angel of peerless beauty!

My pain eases at a mere glimpse of you.

You give me both strength and resolve at once.

Strength to face whichever course we choose.

Resolve the weather the harshest tempest.

Lead, and I shall follow you unto death.

This feud, these names, they shall not stop our love.

It burns stronger than any hate can match

No fate however cruel can e’er exceed,

The joy of this one moment, this instant.

Oh come to me fair keeper of my soul,

To soothe my worried heart and make me whole.

The curtains drew back and to Romeo Montague it was as if the darkness of night were banished.  As if the dawn had come early.  For there she was, in all her radiant splendor.

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?”  

Robert Webb  © 2018