Hark! A Modern Storyline Pattern– Part 1

The stage is set. The lights go up; the camera rolls. Actors take their place.

We’re seen in a garden of jasmine and rose bushes with the side of an old stone castle covered in vines. The windows are dark save for the upmost bedroom with the sheer curtains.

Then our hero arrives! Romeo, sneaking into the garden unnoticed, approaches the wall and looks up. The moon is shining in his face, making it hard to see.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel—let down your hair!”

Juliet, peering down, shuts the window in frustration.

“Leave, daring stranger. I must not look at you for fear that I will fall in love and watch you be pursued by my father haunted with anger issues.”

“I have no fear of parental guards!” Romeo protests, even as the window is closed. “There are many handsome women of your stature that suffer the same! Yet their lovers never ditched them!”

Juliet stopped. Hesitating, she opens the window once more. She looks down at the stranger who she only saw at the party a few hours before. He was cute, she thought. Perhaps he was as gentlemanly as he portrayed himself.

“Who, pray?” she asks.

“Loads of people in classic literature!” Romeo proclaims. “Take Cinderella! Jasmine! The Little Mermaid!”

“ ’Tis only three, my love,” Juliet sighs with a dreamy smile, now attracted.

“ ‘Tis a pattern that is not only in books!” Romeo replies. “What of Bella SwanAriel Moore, Katy McLaughlinMavis?”

“My…” Juliet twirls her hair as she turns away to hide her blush. “You certainly know your stories.”

“Mere observation, desert flower,” Romeo remarks, “and anyone can see it if they pay close attention to the previews. Every time, in order to assure a happy ending, the writer makes the parents (or father, in particular) give up. The lover always wins, as if making the father the bad guy—such a pattern today. This story is no different.”

“So you,” Juliet attempts, “—you would risk your life for my love, like all the other lovers in your stories?”

Romeo stops. He pauses. Juliet waits, now frustrated again.

“Well?” she prompts. The crickets become annoying.

“Risk my…life?” Romeo says. “Nay! But I would risk a big chunk of it.”

Juliet fumes. “What kind of a man would admit that to a woman?”

“An honest one,” Romeo responds.

“But you mentioned the pattern!—the lover never backs down!”

“ ’Tis never happens in real life, my love,” Romeo declares. “Don’t we all wish we could live in a fairy tale?”

Juliet lets out a gasp and her eyes narrow. She grabs the window to close it.

“You are no gentleman!” she shouts. “Leave me, pray, or I shall throw something at you! You don’t even know my name!”

“Rapunzel seemed fitting.”

“You reckless stranger! Leave me! I never want to see you again! You say you love me yet you don’t even care to risk your life for me!”

“For heaven’s sake, darling, I only saw you for the first time a few hours ago.”

“Dost this appeal to me?” Juliet demands.

“Well…sure it does,” Romeo suggests. “Not all stories end well. Besides, if you knew Shakespeare at all, you’d know we’re both only destined to die if we try to make this relationship work.”

“Give thee to a nunnery!”  Juliet cries. “I shan’t ever speak to you again!”

And the window slams and the lights were cut.

Romeo stands awkwardly amidst the staring crickets.

“Actually it’d be a monastery,” he says to himself.

Curtain. Applause.

 

 

 

 

~J.L. Cordova

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