Friday, July 25, 2008
In Fair Verona
“Well, goodbye, then."
He leaned forward as she stepped back.
"Later." She turned, aborting their waltz. “Thanks for walking me back. You really didn’t have to.”
Watching her take the stairs up to the apartment, he understood that, as her calculus tutor, his life was tangential to hers. His pull on her as weak as the moon’s gravity upon the sun. He believed he was okay with that. But today she pierced him with that gauzy skirt, not caring to conceal the razor burn on the legs beneath. Recollecting the intimacy of those small, angry bumps next to his knees, his hands curled into fists.
She paid him, damn it. To understand derivatives. Nothing more.
But there was something about a balcony that begged to be climbed.
Her key paused in the lock. She looked down in a manner that suggested she had already forgotten him. Feigning interest in the dumpster, he attempted a laugh. But he choked on the dirty air.
“Yeah?” she asked.
“Nothing.” He shook his head. “Just something stupid.”
She leaned her hips into the rail. “What?”
“Only . . . ”
“Jesus, Daniel.” She rolled her eyes, falling back into her sandals. “Spill it.”
“My friends, in high school.” His cheeks flamed. “They called me ‘Romeo.’”
She concealed a smile with her keys. “Oh?”
He shrugged. “They were being ironic.”
He waited for anything else.
“I never really felt like a Juliet, you know.” With a key, she carved something into the rail, her hair spilling forward. “My parents were these romantic freaks, and I guess—”
She broke off.
“They thought you should be, too?”
“Yeah,” she said. “But it always kind of embarrassed me. People can make too many assumptions.”
She blew on her bangs and adjusted the strap of her bag. “Anyway.”
He lifted a hand, and smiled up at her. “Goodbye, then.”
She nodded and turned back toward the door. “See you on Thursday, Daniel.”
But something in her voice had turned soft. He had widened her circle by a degree, maybe two.
It was enough. He turned away, feeling the shadows of the day dissolve into night. Whistling, a little.
This was merely the balcony scene. He still had three more acts.
Here are a couple of my favorite interpretations of the classic Shakespeare scene, by way of Youtube: the 1968, Zefferelli production, and re-imagined in song as West Side Story. Check them out...