A lighthouse on Lake Superior. Lake “Gitche Gumee” as the Native Americans call it. Native Americans believe that this lake never gives up those that have perished in it. This lighthouse is still searching for the ore freighter “The Edmund Fitzgerald” which sank on November 10, 1975 killing all 29 crew members.
“They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind.”
I, Friar Laurence, almost knew, even then, that this balcony would become famous after the story of the two star-crossed lovers became widely known. The families were reconciled by their children’s death and had agreed to end their violent feud but at a tremendous human cost.
The Montague and Capulet families had a long history of despising each other. But the turning point was that damn ball at the Capulet house. Romeo, in an effort to cure his depression over Rosaline, one of Capulet’s nieces, crashes the party. A relationship between a Montague’s son and a Capulet niece does not bode well. But Romeo compounds this shaky ground by meeting and immediately falling in love with Juliet.
I told Romeo there could be dire consequences from a meeting like this. Why stir the pot? Let the families work out their differences without you adding fuel to this toxic environment. But did he listen to me? No! Bastard fool that he is. Then he slinks into the Capulet’s orchard and guess what he finds there? You guessed it–Juliet! In spite of her family’s hatred for the Montagues she is wailing like a little girl from that balcony about how she loves him! The fool can’t just hide in the bushes in the orchard and watch from afar, no he has to jump out and proposes marriage to her. And she agrees!
Both Romeo and Juliet appear at my doorstep and ask me to marry them. I had only hoped to reconcile the two families through their union and I did secretly marry them the next day.
In just a couple of weeks Juliet comes to me for help after relating what has happened since I married her to Romeo. After hearing her story I was in a different community within this providence of Verona. After all, as a Frier I have been called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) in service to a community and after hearing Juliet’s story I wish I had not got involved in this mess.
She tells a story of Romeo being challenged to a duel, refusing to fight, someone accepting the duel on Romeo’s behalf, Romeo killing Tybalt, who is Juliet’s cousin. Romeo being exiled from Verona, with the threat of execution upon his return. Romeo consummating their marriage. Her father Capulet ordering her to marry someone else. When she refuses her mother rejects her.
Lord in your mercy, here my prayer! What advice can I, a lowly Frier, give her? Ah…I have a solution. I will give her a drug that will put her into a deathlike coma for just under two days and I will send a messenger to inform Romeo of the plan and then he can rejoin her when she awakens. We agree on the plan.
That’s the last time I saw Juliet.
I have since learned that not everything went according to our plan. The damn messenger does not reach Romeo to inform him of the plan. Instead Romeo learns of Juliet’s apparent death from his servant. Then Romeo does a very stupid thing, not the first stupid thing but the most damning. The fool goes to the drug store and buys some poison. And this is where (if not before) it gets really weird. Romeo drinks the poison (silly fool) and then Juliet awakens and, finding Romeo dead, stabs herself with his dagger.
This will be my last look at that balcony before I head to my new providence in Milan. Hopefully a much quieter one. Rest in peace Romeo and Juliet.
Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.
Already it had begun. Before it was never this bad. Cancer is a bad disease. Death can sometimes occur. Even earlier than expected. Far be it from us mortals to determine how long. God grant us serenity. His will be done. I can’t do it myself. Just depend on my Higher Power. Knowledge of this disease is depressing. Love is needed at all times. Money helps us with research. Nobody is immune. Open your hearts to those that suffer. Powerful drugs are being developed every day. Quick and easy are never an option. Results can be devastating. Statistically we are improving our success rates. Technically brilliant people are working on this all the time. Until such time as there is a definite cure we all suffer. Very seldom is the initial diagnosis received with open arms. We will fight until we find a cure. X-ray technology is fast improving. Young people are prone to this disease as are the elderly. Zinc is a constituent of many enzymes that permit chemical reactions to proceed at normal rates.
Lucy, as she was called, arrived in my life in late summer 1996 in Longmont Colorado. I had a small apartment and was in the process of leaving Colorado and heading for Raleigh, North Carolina. The best thing I can say about Colorado was I was glad to see it in my rear view mirror as I left. It was a very depressing time in my life for various reasons. A few weeks before I was ready to leave this very small black cat appeared outside my apartment door. She looked to be in good shape and I figured she had wandered away from her home and someone would be looking for her. Once I fed her, I had to go and buy some cat food as I didn’t have any in the apartment, she claimed me. Hell, I didn’t even know if the apartment complex ALLOWED cats. She was a very small cat and pretty quite so I thought I could handle her until I found her owner.
I could not find her owner. No one in the complex would claim her and the results of my attempt to place flyers up around the neighborhood yielded no results. My thinking was I had around 10 days to get rid of this cat. I had the bright idea of taking her to the vet and give her to them to take care of. No such deal! They checked her out and informed me she had been very well taken care of but they were not a pet adoption agency.
I’m getting ready to leave with everything I own in a 4 x 6 U-Haul and I don’t have any plans to take her with me.
Lucy had other plans! After a few angry meows she settled in for the trip to Raleigh. I tried, and mostly succeeded, to find motels that would allow animals. One night I didn’t and left her in the room while I went out for dinner. When I came back she was between the window and the drapes in plain view of the sign that said no pets allowed.
She later became the member of our household that at one time included 5 cats. Lucy was the smallest of them but didn’t take crap from any of the boys. I was always impressed with the way she walked. Like “You want a piece of me? Well bring it on.” After 17 years with a cat they become like one of your children with their medical bills, different personalities, their attitudes and habits.
Lucy’s health deteriorated over the last few years and we had to have her put down yesterday. Today she sits over the fireplace in a Urn with her departed playmates.