Tale As Old as Time

By: Esha Aphale

Picture Courtesy: tumblr.com

Romeo was impatiently pacing the Capulet’s garden – and the general area below Juliet’s balcony. He never knew what love at first sight meant, until he saw Juliet – with her bushy red hair, and kohl-rimmed eyes – which put Rosaline’s looks to shame. This was, suffice to say, plain weird to Romeo because he was “madly” in love with Rosaline.

He had faint memories of playing with Juliet when they were younger, and when the Capulet’s and Montague’s were business partners. He remembered playing basket-ball with Tybalt, while Rosaline and Juliet helped them keep score and ocasionally disrupt the game with their below-average basketball skills.

Things had turned around when the Montague’s borrowed money from the Capulet’s for some “business” ventures. Due to their failure to pay back, the Capulet’s took away all the Montague assets, and this was merely the start of a long-running family feud.

Things had gotten so bad, that their servants, friends and even dogs fought with each other.

Romeo had sneaked into a Capulet party to get a glimpse of Rosaline, and probably get her phone number, when he saw Juliet – sitting all by herself, with two bodyguards acting as columns. Rosaline forgotten, Romeo, with the help of Benovolio, started a conversation with Juliet.

Thoughts were exchanged, glances were stolen and smiles were thrown around, after which he was head-over-heels. Though, Juliet was merely curious of the Montague-boy, much to his dismay.

“God, I wish she knew how much I loved her,” he sighed. “Oh, wait. What’s that?”

Juliet had appeared in her balcony, humming to some tune – Mississippi Queen, by the sounds of it. She hadn’t noticed Romeo in her garden, who was murmuring to himself about how he wished he were the head-phones that were whispering sweet symphonies in her ears. Delusional as he was, he fancied the thought of her eyes being in the sky and the stars being in her head.

“What—”Juliet’s eyes widened, and she looped her headphones in her neck. She hadn’t noticed Romeo, who had cloaked himself in the darkness. (The black clothes worked, Romeo thought.)

Romeo’s woebegone face morphed into happiness. He spoke to himself in a furtive whisper. “She talks like an angel!”

“Romeo,” she whispered. She wanted her words to be heard, but she didn’t know about the eavesdropper. “Why is your surname Montague? I wish it wasn’t. Just promise that you feel the same, and I’ll forget – if only for a moment – that I’m a Capulet.”

Realizing that she hadn’t yet detected him lurking in the shadows, Romeo didn’t know whether to make his presence noticed or to remain in the shadows.

Leaning on balcony, Juliet took the advantage of her ephemeral freedom, she whispered out more thoughts to the winds, “It’s just your name that is the issue, you know? It isn’t you, or your looks or your thoughts. You would be just as perfect with any other name. I wish—”

“I agree with you,” he said, loud enough for Juliet to hear. “From this day on, I will forget that I’m a Montague.”

“Who—”Julietstuttered. She shouldn’t have proclaimed all that she did, without expecting anyone to hear her. “W-who is there?”

“I wish I could tell you who I am,” Romeo said. He was still hiding. “But I hate my name.”

“Wait … ” Juliet’s mind started racing, and you could practically hear the cogs in her brain moving. “I have heard that voice befor—Ro, isn’t that you?”

“I … I’m not Romeo Montague if you don’t like that name.” He said, coming into the light.

Juliet couldn’t comprehend what was happening, but she could feel her lips being upturned in a smile. For a moment, she forgot about the world; only for a moment. “How did you get here? Did the security see you? What if Sameson sa—”

“Shh,” Romeo said. “No one saw me, I made sure.”

“They’ll kill you if they find out that you are here,” Juliet said. But then she remembered all that she had blazoned. “Oh, Lord. I’m so embarrassed about all that I said. Look, leave now. Text me, instead. That’s safer.”

After exchanging a plethora of words, Juliet accepted Romeo’s proposal. She promised to message him through a burner-phone to know the details of their elopement; her parents had been monitoring her phone. Making promises to meet each other the next day, Juliet returned to the safety of her room — trying to find a dress for her wedding.

Romeo, in the meanwhile, returned to his room, where the Wi-Fi was strong.

FriarLawrence: Hey, Romeo, you’d called me?

RoMon: Yep. I need you to marry me.

[Seen at 12:37 am]

FriarLawrence: To Rosaline? Romeo, I told you, any1 but her.

RoMon: No not her, Friar. The other Capulet 🙂

FriarLawrence: Romeo … what is this ..???

RoMon: Juliet and I want to get married. We’re pretty serious, y knw?

[Seen at 12:40 am]

FriarLawrence: You’re sure about this?

RoMon: haven’t been surer, Friar.

[Seen at 12:43 am]

FriarLawrence: Well, then, I’ll do it. Also because this will put a stop to the feud.

RoMon: Yay!!!!

FriarLawrence: But don’t run into anything, for you might tumble and fall.

RoMon: Well, I’ve already fallen 😉 you know what I’m talking about?

[Seen 12:48 am]

Juliet, in the meanwhile, awoke early due to the anxious knot of nerves she was.

JuliCapu: You have the bottle ready, Friar Lawrence?

[Seen at 7:45 am]

FriarLawrence: It’s almost done.

JuliCapu: and it puts me in coma for a while?

FriarLawrence: Yes, my girl.

JuliCapu: You won’t tell any1 rite?

FriarLawrence: No I won’t.

JuliCapu: what time shall I come to collect it?

FriarLawrence: an hour. Bye.

“Friar Lawrence?” Juliet said, stepping into the small apartment, reeking of herbs. “I have come to collect the … err, thing.”

While returning back to her secure mansion, Juliet sent a series of texts to Romeo.

JuliCapu: Romeo, I’m drinking this poison, k?

JuliCapu: it’s going to put me in coma, but I’ll wake up.

JuliCapu: And then we can elope.

JuliCapu: Call Friar Lawrence ASAP. He’ll explain. I gtg.

She switched off her phone as soon as she pressed the send button, but failed to see the Message Not Sent notification.

Juliet returned to the seclusion of her room, thinking Romeo knew about the plan, and gulped the vial. This put her into a poison-induced coma, but everyone believed her to be dead. They carried her to the family tomb, and lay her down with the vial, and proceeded home to grieve.

The Friar was desperately trying to reach Romeo to tell him the truth, but his phone was unreachable.

Romeo upon hearing the news of Juliet’s death, rushed to the Capulet tomb to find Paris – Juliet’s so-called fiancé – laying flowers.

“W-what are you doing here?” Paris asked Romeo. “You shouldn’t be he—”

“Don’t tell me what I should or should not do!” Romeo’s voice rang out in the empty graveyard. Angered by the death of Juliet, Romeo lashed out on Paris with his gun. After watching Paris die, Romeo entered the family tomb, and was Juliet’s dead body.

“What’s my need in this world now?” Romeo mused and whipped a bottle of rat-poison. With no regrets, with the exception of not spending his life with Juliet, he ended his life next to her.

After a few moments, Juliet woke up from her coma, happy to start a new life. But disquietude took over her, as she laid her eyes on Romeo’s leather-clad, lifeless body. She was confused as to why Romeo killed himself, when she had texted him already.

Something glinted from underneath Romeo’s leather jacket, which Juliet, through her watery eyes, identified as a dagger.

“Oh, I’ve never been so happy to see a dagger,” she said.

A few seconds after Juliet’s death, as the two lovers lay motionless, and wordless, Ping! Ping! Ping!’s resonated in the tomb, muffled by Romeo’s jacket; signaling that messages were received.