Sunday, April 29, 2007

These violent delights have violent ends

This evening, G and I watched the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet. I hadn't read the play since college and had forgotten that it actually has a fairly complicated plot: she kept asking me who various characters were and what was happening, and I had to think fast to remember how Mercutio was connected to Romeo and why Friar Laurence's message didn't make it to Mantua. I don't know how much of the Shakespearean dialogue made sense to G, but it was all very educational, since I had to explain things like what "exile" meant, why Verona had its own prince, why you would need torches to navigate the dark streets, why it wasn't that unusual for a thirteen-year-old to get married, and why Juliet's father was, for the time, within his rights to threaten her and force her to marry the man of his choice.

Anyway, G loved it until the point where Juliet drank the potion to fake her own death, at which point she asked "Are they going to stab themselves next?" I said yes, and she said "Turn it off, I don't want to see that part." Fair enough. She was in full Juliet regalia by then, since she lives for dress-up and can cobble together an ensemble for nearly any occasion from her collection of fancy dresses, old Halloween costumes and scarves. She visited Costume SuperCenter afterward in search of a more authentic outfit and was peeved when they didn't have one that measured up to her vision.

Aside from the movie, I spent a good chunk of my day throwing away or storing items that have been sitting on my patio since we moved here nine months ago. Part of the reason I've been so down (I think) is because from the moment P died until just recently, I lived under the illusion that everything I was doing -- finding a new place to live, managing work and childcare and chores on my own, being sick with no one here to pick up the slack -- was somehow temporary. I could deal with anything because nothing felt like it was going to last. But over the last month or so, I've begun to wake up to the cold, unpleasant truth: none of this is temporary. This is it; this is how things are going to be from now on. And whether it's true or not, I can't help feeling that there's nothing left to look forward to, which is a pretty sad way to feel when you're barely halfway through your life, if that.

I thought the mess on the patio was symptomatic of this mindset -- back when we arrived, I'd shoved things out there thinking I'll just put this [lawn chair/stone gargoyle/fake plant] here for now and do something about it later. Well, "later" is here. There's lots more I still need to deal with, including selling P's boxes and boxes of graphic novels on eBay (which he specifically told me to do if something should happen to him), but I have to muster up the mental energy first. It could take a while.


Pixilated Mum said...

I always liked Mercutio a thousand times better than Romeo. R seemed to be a rather moony, ditzy sort of a guy to me, and I found it hard to see why Juliet would give up so much for the likes of him. Tough audience, I was, at 12 when I last saw it.

writermeeg said...

Oh, V, that feeling makes so much sense it makes my tummy hurt. Ugh. Big hug, and more love to you as you get through the next fun stage of loss. Ugh.