43. Love Give Me Strength

Ms. Smith tilted her head curiously as they got up. Lauren walked up to the front and faced the classroom’s windows. She wore a medieval style gown in dark red. The sunshine made the fake rhinestones on her silver halo headband glisten.

Her demeanor made everyone focus on her. She took several deep breaths then, stomped her foot on the ground.

“Banishment?!” She yelled at the window, “Be merciful and say “death.””

Ms. Smith raised her eyebrows upon hearing Romeo’s line fly from her lips. She began to smile, realizing what they had done. Instead of the actors adjusting themselves to the role, they took the roles and genderbent them instead.

Lauren threw up her arms and began pacing around her area, “Exile is much worse than death.  There is no world for me outside the walls of Verona, except purgatory, torture, and hell itself. So to be banished from Verona is like being banished from the world, and being banished from the world is death.”

Then, she put her hands on her hips, staring angrily at the audience, “Banishment is death by the wrong name. Calling death banishment is like cutting off my head with a golden ax and smiling while I’m being murdered.”

Her intonation rose up as she finished her dialogue. The loudness of her voice made the other students hold onto their seats. She projected a woman ready to fight them for a punishment they didn’t give her.

Just when they thought, she’d shout some more, she whimpered instead, “It’s torture.”

Lauren made exaggerated breathing motions. The audience could visibly see her chest rising and falling and could clearly hear her breaths. She sniffed a little as her posture relaxed.

“Heaven is here because Juliet lives here” her soft enveloped the room with her sorrows, “Every cat and dog and little mouse, every unworthy animal that lives here can see him, but Romeo can’t.”

She sat at the podium, staring upwards. Her mouth was open as if her nose was clogged, “Flies are healthier and more honorable and better suited for romance than Romeo.”

Lauren raised up her hand as if caressing someone’s cheek, “They can take hold of Juliet’s wonderful white hand and they can kiss his sweet lips. Even while he remains a pure virgin, he blushes when his lips touch each other because he thinks it’s a sin.”

She closed her raised hand as well as closed her eyes. Slamming the fist on the floor, she wailed, “But Romeo can’t kiss him or hold his hand because she’s been banished.”

Her head bowed and she covered her face with her hands, “Flies can kiss him, but I must flee the city. Flies are like free men, but I have been banished. And yet exile is not death?!”

Anger once again seeped her veins as she stood up. She hit the wall with her foot and called out through the window, “Is there no poison, no sharp knife, no weapon that could be used to kill me quickly, nothing so disgraceful, except banishment? “

Her arms flew, her voice rose and her eyes teared up, “Damned souls use the word banishment to describe hell. They howl about banishment!”

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

Lauren placed a hand over her mouth, trying to calm down. She paced once again as if listening to someone’s unspoken words.

When she faced the audience, she halted in her step. A look of mockery covered her face, “Antidote to banishment is philosophy you say?”

She scoffed at the idea, “Forget about philosophy! Unless philosophy can create a Juliet, or pick up a town and put it somewhere else, or reverse a prince’s punishment, it doesn’t do me any good.”

Pressing her lips together, she meet the audience’s eyes. A few tears had flowed down to her cheeks. They watched as her eyes changed from one emotion to another. She had them completely entranced.

When she spoke again, her voice quivered, “I won’t hide unless all the mist from my heartsick groans envelopes me like fog and conceals me from people’s searching eyes”

Then, she turned around with defeated shoulders. Her knees gave in and she knelt on the floor, weeping in her hands.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ms. Smith was the first one to clap. Each beat followed the pattern of a pumping heart. Soon, the rest of the class followed. Alex being the loudest clapper among them. If Ms. Smith didn’t give Lauren a perfect score, she’d file a complaint.

As the round of applause died down, a new voice entered into the scene.

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

“Are you gone like that, my love, my lady?” Max walked up the podium, clenching his hand over his heart. He used a voice that Alex hadn’t heard before, quite different from Max’ usual arrogant one.

He gazed at the other side of the room as if Lauren still stood there. His eyes held a gentle emotion, “My wife, my friend. I must hear from you every day in the hour. In a minute there are many days.”

Then, he opened the clenched hand and wiped it on his face, “Oh, by this count I’ll be many years older before I see my Romeo again.”

Max placed his hands on the edge of the teacher’s table at the center, stretching his arms and bending his torso, “Oh, do you think we’ll ever meet again?”

He took a step back, hands still on the table, until his eyes faced the floor. His bangs hung loosely and framed the upper half of his face, hiding it from the audience.

The room remained quiet.

Then, Max drew in a sharp breath and exhaled through his mouth. He gulped, locking his jaw. His hands and arms began to shake. He used so much force to steady them that the table moved an inch.  

His lips parted and turned into a sneer.

Droplets of liquid hit the podium.

Drip, drip, drip.

Drip.

The sight of them stunned everyone.

Max wiped the tears away with his sleeve, wailing, “Oh God, I have a soul that predicts evil things! When I saw her below, she looked like someone dead in the bottom of a tomb. Either my eyesight failed me, or she looked pale.”

He straightened his posture and fixed the collar of his coat.

“Oh, luck” he mumbled but loud enough for the class to hear. He sniffed every now and then. He too also looked out the window like Lauren did. His eyes filled with longing, “Everyone says you can’t make up your mind. If you change your mind so much… what are you going to do to Romeo, who’s so faithful? Change your mind, luck. I hope maybe then you’ll send her back home soon.”

Max cleared his throat, pushing his hands into his pant pockets, “My wife is alive on earth, my vows of marriage are in heaven. How can I bring those promises back down to earth, unless my wife sends them back down to me by dying and going to heaven?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose for a few seconds. Then, he slammed a fist on the board, “Give me comfort! Give me advice! Why does heaven play tricks on someone as weak as me?!”

Max ran a hand through his hair in frustration, “God joined my heart to Romeo’s. And before I am married to another woman, I’ll kill myself.”

He pulled out a fake dagger and twisted it in his hand, “Caught between these two difficulties, I’ll act like a judge with my bloody knife. I will truly and honorably resolve the situation.”

He stared at the weapon. His arm brought it closer to his face by a few inches. Before it could reach his neck, he threw the dagger onto the floor.

“There must be another way” Max uttered, more to himself than to anyone. His head snapped towards the audience. He went to his seat where his bag was. He opened it and rummaged through its contents.

Once he found what he was looking for, he slowly held up a blue potion bottle above his head as if mesmerized by it.

“A death like solution to this shameful problem” he thought aloud.

Max held the bottle like a priceless piece of treasure and walked back up the podium.

He turned it in his hands, “A cold, sleep-inducing drug to run through my veins, and to stop my pulse. My flesh will become cold, and I’ll also  stop breathing. The red in my lips and my cheeks will turn pale, and my eyes will shut. It will seem like I am dead, unable to move and still like a corpse. A deathlike state for forty-two hours, and then I will wake up as if from a pleasant sleep.”

Max tightened his grip around the bottle, “Friar can send to Romeo about this plan… for my family shall dress me in my best clothes and lay me in the Capulet tomb. There, I shall meet my Romeo again and we shall leave for Mantua—free from all these difficulties between us.”

He closed his eyes and tilted his head up. His hands placed the bottle over his chest as if in prayer, “Love give me strength. And strength will help me accomplish this plan.”

You may also like: