Romeo's Triathlon of Semesters for Juliet is Exhausting
Act two Part two of our modern day true story. Romeo's met Juliet, now the chase has begun.
Once upon a nightmare there lived two families. One on an acreage with horses, in a mansion with huge doors; the Capulet's. The other lived in a messy split-level and came from lower to middle class. We smoked, swore, and told crude jokes; the Montague's.
The Capulet's daughter wasn't a princess by conventional means, but she was in the eyes of a Little Romeo. It didn't matter that she wore wranglers and T-shirts. Sweaters might drive a big brain as crazy as a dress could. Juliet showed inner strength, intelligence, bravery, wit, independence, and seemed different than the other girls. Five out of six were qualities Romeo wished I had.
Little Romeo appeared to be a misfit, always causing some form of trouble or putting a bad reputation on the family name. I was trying to make it out of this high school thing in one sane piece. A voice becoming weak against the tides of adults. The Montague's didn't care about social standards or judging books by hair length and accepted Juliet like I had; arms wide open.
The Capulet's were convinced they'd found their Paris. He made Juliet cry a lot and that made Romeo sad. She'd say he hit her, and Little Romeo told Juliet that I'd beat Paris up; even if he was twice my size and would surely beat me to a pulp.
Juliet became something unexplainable. I'd been sucked into a gravitational force and started a triathlon of semesters for her. I'd been chasing another legendary bird, Marge, but over 3 years, I hadn't gotten far with her families Asian customs of school before romance.
It wouldn't matter who I dated; all I knew was I was in some league of my own. According to others, I was out of the girls' league, or she was out of mine. They were anything; too fat or too skinny. Too smart or too dumb. Too popular or not enough. None of that had mattered to a weird boy chasing smiles and a kind heart.
Marge invited me to her sweet 16. My birthday's were nothing worth mentioning. I arrived at the hotel and that's when terror sunk in. The banquet hall was packed with 100 people I didn't know. Luckily Marge had invited a mutual friend, a best friend before I'd moved, Calvin. He seemed excited to see me! Marge introduced me to many other people from her school who'd become staples in Little Romeo's high school.
I hugged Marge and wished her a happy birthday. I shook her father's hand in military style, trying to show him that I respected his daughter. While the ladies liked my hair, I was starting to wonder if that's what the parents didn't like.
We ate supper and speeches followed. Her dads hit Little Romeo as it dawned on me that we were all growing up. Only a few more years and I'd be an adult. Marge's journey was closing in a year sooner.
After the speeches, a DJ put on music as the parents encouraged a bunch of awkward kids to dance. We were unmoved until two twins, Hypnos and Thanatos, started bopping and getting everyone going.
I'd been tapping my foot, smiling, when Thanatos came over and started doing Miley Cyrus stuff to me. It was weird at first, but Improv and Drama had been teaching me about acceptance. I laughed, but wasn't ready to go.
Thanatos backed away as he threw a hand in the air, swinging it around in circles while he galloped. He threw an invisible lasso and need I say more? I'd been caught and there was no way of getting out of one at a dance party! I hopped towards him as he pulled to the beat.
I might have been there for Marge, but reality had always dawned on me, at least as a kid. We were only friends. I was as eligible that night as I always was. There was a lot of girls in dresses at this party!
I showed off my moves and noticed a cutie in a silver dress that knew how to move. I boogied over as we danced and flirted. I'd always been planning on saving the last dance for Marge though. I'd never seen the movie, but it sounded romantic enough. I asked the DJ to announce when that would play.
I thought two girls was a good night for a weird, nerdy boy. I noticed another group had formed off in the distance, away from the dance party. By appearances, two popular girls surrounded by gawking guys. One was petite and wore a gold dress. They laughed in my direction; was I dancing weird? Were they checking me out? Maybe my cute butt?
Her friend approached me, "Do you like Megan?" she asked smiling.
"Well, I don't even know her, but she's hot!" I replied.
"She likes you. She wants you to meet her in the walk-in closet in 15 minutes," she told Little Romeo as my brain raced away.
"You got it!" I said reassuringly. I was still that respectable boy at heart though. This was Marge's big day, not mine. I was more than interested in the prospect of what a girl had intended on kissing in a giant closet, but started to worry. Were they jealous of Marge's sweet 16? Were they jealous I was flirting with other girls and not them?
The reward didn't outweigh the risk so I continued dancing until her friend came back over, "Hey... Megan's waiting for you... Are you going to meet up with her?"
"Uh... I don't think so..." I said, like most instances, not knowing what to say. It seemed like even if I had the truth, most would insist I didn't. "Why doesn't she come talk to me herself?"
"She's shy around cute boys. Like's your hair..." she told me.
I briefly considered I'd overthought her intentions, but only because she'd commended on my hair. I can tell you one thing for free; I was now convinced it was about all I had going for me. I told her I loved to dance and that she should come over. She only informed me that wasn't possible which only put the wall back up. "Shucks... too bad..." I said continuing to dance.
She didn't like that very much and offered a few nasty words as she walked away. They hovered and shot me dirty looks the rest of the night, which only left me more confused. I'd reasoned I was far too weird for her in the good reality anyways.
The DJ announced the last couple songs and the last dance was a slow one. I went up to Marge and told her I'd saved it for her. She smiled and finally took notice of my sentiment. I went home with swagger in my step, not wanting the night to end. But like any good thing, it comes to an end eventually.
I'd saved the last but still had no control over customs; I'd made it no further with Marge.
I'd start the cycling portion with Juliet. My competition had everything going for him a weird, nerdy, broke boy didn't. He played sportspuck, had a car, and money to buy Juliet things. They'd go out for takeout lots. Paris had far more child freedoms.
Juliet would insist I couldn't be trusted, I chased all the girls. But the other girls weren't slowing down time. I'd state the obvious, that I might chase them, but I only wanted to date Juliet. Only wanted the girl breaking science rule. Maybe if I had a cellphone...
What had started as something terrible, a one-month in-school suspension, turned into a learning experience and something good. I was in a long time, long enough to see some kids get two suspensions. I'd start wondering who'd enter each day.
I asked a girl I knew what she was in for, and thought I might have a long-term companion finding out she'd spit on the teacher. I was shocked when she said she'd only received three days, but she was more shocked to find out I'd gotten a month over a cell phone. I'd shock anyone with it who came in.
The Warden had been good though, offering me rides to the city when I needed them. He said if we were going to act like adults, he'd talk and treat to us like them. I'd respected his straight forwardness, and he allowed me to listen to music to stay focused.
I didn't just catch up on all my overdue homework, I finished up all the course modules they'd printed and was ahead of the class. They couldn't provide anymore material, knowing I'd have to amalgamate back with society. I'd also started to reteach myself the fundamentals of math that I'd missed.
As time progressed through high school, my ability to see myself in University declined. Juvenile detention was one place I'd thought it still possible. I got to see Juliet at lunch, but didn't have to deal with the social environment I wasn't functioning in. I skipped on dealing with most of my bullies. And when Hades called me down at the end of week 3, we were both in for a new shock.
He gave me praise for good behavior, something I thought I'd never hear from Hades. This was my parole hearing and he was trying to figure out if I'd been rehabilitated enough.
"Can I just stay in Bridges for the rest of the semester?" I pleaded, figuring if I went back to class, I was going back into an old cycle. I'd become an institutionalized boy by now. They wanted to send me back out there in the wild, but this was the life I'd come to know. Detention.
Instead, he insisted that I should get back to the social environment and that I'd learned my lesson. I sure had; that no one was listening! The lights were blinding as I walked out of the dark confines of juvenile detention, no longer just a lunch time castaway.
I thought I'd known how to bike, but couldn't figure this triathlon out. I tried the bad boy routine and Juliet told me to be a good boy. I'd try the nerd angle saying I got a 98% on my English final, but she only told me to keep it up. Even a double whammy nerd whammy wouldn't seem to phase her.
I had information processing with the amazing Mr. Moore. He gave us a stock market assignment; two weeks, and ten grand in imaginary money to invest. At first, I bought things I liked but quickly reasoned they were established markets that weren't likely to move in 2 weeks.
I did some research, coming across a bio-tech company that had just gone live and they were offering some promising prospects. I bought in at $4 a stock, spending most of my fake investment on them.
The stock went up to $50 over night and by day four had almost reached $100 per share. I was shitting fake bricks, obviously wishing I'd had invested real money. I needed it to spend on Juliet! I kept tabs on the company and a new article released that basically said everything the company was unveiling was thus far failing.
I wasn't allowed to sell my investment before the two weeks, Mr. Moore trying to teach a lesson I was well aware of. Usually I wasn't doing homework at all, but I had my own points to prove. I asked if I could do two assignments and the teacher obviously agreed, simply stating only the one would count.
The next day the stock had fallen like I figured it would and would hover around $44 for the remainder of the project. I handed in both assignments I completed, angry that I could have made twice as much.
A prize was promised for first place, and I'd still made eight grand on the assignment that counted, a shoe in for victory. Mr. Moore couldn't believe that I'd made that money and had never heard of the stock. Another person in a long line of people not believing a boy about anything. I had to sit down, and show him the entire project wasn't staged, all for a friggin' chocolate bar and some recognition.
But hey! I'd made eight-sixteen grand depending on the assignment you took for value. If Juliet wasn't impressed, I wasn't sure what would impress her. Well, it didn't impress her much either! I'd often throw my hands up in the air and wonder what I could possibly do next.
The high school was killing my soul, but finishing this semester only meant two more years to go. I'd reasoned if I made it through the two years I had here, there was no way I couldn't make it through two years with a fresh start at a new school.
I wanted to talk to Juliet about it, often trying to get her to understand. It didn't seem to matter. She was dating a boy from the city after all. Five months into the chase, and she only got mad at me for the prospect. Like most things, never explaining why.
Juliet was always complaining about Paris, and he got a nickname that spring; Limpy Leg. He had troubles which only confused Little Romeo. I only had to see a girl smile, and hug her to get a boner. She'd inquire on it, and I hadn't noticed yet. I'd get angry trying to insist it wasn't my fault and I wasn't even thinking about that sort of thing. Only loving a Little-Tall girl.
It made Little Romeo sad when she'd say he beat her while I'd just wanted to hold and love her. I told Juliet, "I wouldn't be happy... But if you broke up and dated anyone that treated you better, I'd live..."
She smiled, "Even another guy from our school?" and I looked at her confused and sadly said yes. She smiled even bigger. I'd chased her all of my grade 10... Who was she interested in from the school?
I'd started self-analyzing more and wondered how I'd find myself at these boiling points and be unable to stop. I'd tried to convince Juliet for months I was better for her while Grumpy Greta came to the honour of Paris. Recently they'd got into a quote on quote "major fight". I didn't know what that entailed from the normal ones I'd often hear about.
He was making her cry for stupid reasons. I wondered what Grumpy Greta was getting out of all this. Free rides and Burger King? I wondered if she actually cared about her best friend at all, or more about the benefits she was getting out of her best friend being abused.
I wondered that while Grumpy Greta put Little Romeo down. I looked unto Juliet for her defense while she stood their unmoved, biting her tongue. I walked away and it was one of few time Little Romeo was done. Except a Little-Tall girl had a birdie come tell me that she really did like me, which trumped everything else to that weird boy.
She'd apologize later on the bus, and I'd only tell her all the things I was doing. Taking her bus, even if I didn't like most of the patrons. Racing to see her in between classes. Using lunch. Writing to her. Things I rarely saw other guys doing for other girls, yet it still didn't seem to compare to a guy with a car. It felt quite like Spider-man and thus I needed transportation ASAP.
Other than the struggle, the rest seemed natural. While I didn't care to look other people in the eyes, often finding their collar or ear, I was drawn to Juliet's. I'd call out to her through telecommunication lines, and for someone terrible with small talk, I'd always have something to say to her. I'd wrote all sorts of things, but always needed something more grand.
We both enjoyed music a lot so I wrote her two parodies. I wrote one for a song that had topped the chars in 08', Hey There Delilah. Asking what it was like on the outskirts of town. The second one worried me, since I didn't rewrite too much of the lyrics for Mr. Brightside by The Killers.
I asked Juliet to serenade her over the phone with my nervous and crackly voice. I was worried because what I thought would make her mad often didn't, and what I didn't think would, often did. I thought performing a song about being the man on the sidelines and feeling used would make her mad. Instead, she thought it was cute.
And with spring, we also started hanging outside of school, although very rarely with the amount of monkey wrenches being thrown in it. By the beginning of June, it seemed like the on-again, off-again nature of their relationship would remain off. She said she was done with him, and so a weird boy with a vivid imagination started planning out our summer.
I was going to make Mother Teresa take us everywhere! I didn't care what the adults thought, I was going to take Juliet camping without them. They would just have to drop us off please and thank you! I hadn't much experience camping, only wanted to lay under the stars away from everything and listen to Juliet.
I wouldn't be so stressed without the social environment on school and all the rules in its different forms. Wouldn't have anyone to deal with except Juliet. Just the two of us building up something before dealing with 700 kids. I'd reasoned if she didn't love me by the time the local fair came around, she was going to after that night. I was going to make her take me on the Ferris Wheel for the first time.
The next day I'd asked her about hanging out on the weekend, but she didn't know anymore, she had this Limpy Leg problem. I said that we could still hang out as friends, I wouldn't try to pull anything romantic on her. I was trying to cover all bases, trying to get on a girls level, and not wanting to just be a rebound. I knew how deep I was.
The only thing she'd heard was "we should just be friends". She brought it up in the halls the next day and my brain started to melt. I explained that that's definitely not what I meant. But something else formed that day.
I knew that I was a weird boy, but was it also possible that the girl I'd fallen in love with, was also a "weird girl"? I couldn't figure out if she had a weird brain, or a girl brain. She seemed to take everything just as literally as I would.
But Paris had cried the night before while Juliet yelled at him and I knew, "So you didn't break up with him... did you?" and she hadn't so I pouted, "And you're not going to... and the two of you are gonna stay together forever...!"
"Says who?" she asked but the triathlon was saying it all, "he's never cried before..."
I'd been stroking Juliet's hand, but that apparently hadn't mattered. She told me she never realized I was doing it to begin with. I guess that's why I'd been allowed to in the first place. I pulled away asked if we were hanging out on the weekend or not.
"I don't think I can. I'm busy all weekend now, I think we're going away for the weekend,"
I'd find it hard to keep the melting point low, "You couldn't have told me yesterday? When are you leaving?"
"Tonight..." Juliet said as Little Romeo angrily sat their till my stop. I got off deciding I was swearing off girls. At least for a week.
We met up on the last day of school and I had an ultimatum for her. I'd chased her the entire school year with nothing to show. I had to fight to get hugs. I didn't blame her, for having made it clear she was in a committed relationship, but I'd planned our summer out. I wasn't going to waste mine chasing someone I couldn't actually chase.
"I'm sorry Romeo..." Juliet said with a frown. She'd try letting me down easy, but it never was, "We've been together a long time," I wondered if it was most of the time I'd chased her.
I pointed out the obvious, "It's not going to get any shorter if you keep dating," but she only apologized again. I walked away to my bus. Swimming had been exhausting, biking had been exhausting, life had been exhausting. I might not even have it in me for the running portion. I never did like running...
That summer, I'd add the third to my trio of legendary birds. I'd met Rose through drama. She went to Campbell and was dating Thanatos. Her smile had captured what little piece of my heart was still available.
We'd started two angsty Facebook Groups; Love Sucks, Hate Life and Dr Peppers Anonymous. The groups were fun, but would only add to the confusion. Out of anyone in Little Romeo's life, the only person who seemed to understand Juliet was Rose.
We hung out over the summer, but I hadn't wanted to intrude on two friends relationship, even if they only complained about one another. I'd go to various events with their group and school, feeling far more accepted by them than the peers at my own school. Mosaic was a cultural gathering that brought us together.
I'd spend a lot of time at the Chinese pavilion, showing my support for Marge and trying to take an interest in her culture, which was more interesting than mine. I was only threatened by a much older man that appeared interested in her. He looked gorgeous! I went with their group for drinks, but only spent the night putting myself down in comparison.
I only made the second night worse. I'd been outside the Ukrainian Pavilion having a cigarette. I'd started smoking with Kenny in his truck and the potential for them to keep me calm was noticeable. I'd often find I got along and understood adults more, especially the drunk ones that contained no filter like me.
After a conversation with one guy, he offered me a beer. I was too young so of course I wanted one! We got in line as he continued explaining life. He bought four beers, "One for you, and three for me!" he cheered. But once he got the tray he started swaying back and forth. I was concerned he might spill mine so I asked for it, "Are you feeling okay? Maybe you should sit down?" I said, drinking mine.
He thought about it and told me he needed to use the washroom. That made sense, he'd drunk enough to be swaying around, he must have to pee! He handed me the tray and ran off to the washroom. Wow! He must REALLY have to go! I thought. I waited awhile as I enjoyed my beer, but he took an awful long time and I was with friends. If he wanted his beer, he'd come find me.
I found the group, a weird Jory now with a tray full of beers. Surprise and shock too hold as I asked if anyone was thirsty. Thanatos was. I drank the rest as I told the story. Except I was only 115 pounds soaking wet, and became too drunk for my own good.
We'd stood outside after and now it was I who was swaying back and forth. I looked at Rose and didn't think she was being shown enough attention. I reached over and gave her boobs a honk. She was not happy with Little Romeo. I'd blame it on the booze later although I knew that was no excuse. It would take weeks to get back in her good books, but I'd never forgave myself even if she'd insisted she had.
Friends were far and few. I'd met those guys from back in Grade 2 during the last year, but I could tell from the smirk on Crosswords face that they hadn't forgotten about a Surfing Pikachu I'd been robbed and ghosted for. I was happy when I'd receive a message out of the blue from Calvin during the summer. Soon, we'd have licenses and more freedom.
"Hey!" I sent back. I hoped his high school was going much better than mine. I'd wished we were getting through it together. He informed me that he'd broken up with the girl. "Oh... I'm sorry to hear man..." I said, not sure what else to say since we hadn't talked since Marge's party. I'd always wondered if like me, he wasn't too different for her.
"I was just wondering, did you two ever have sex?" he asked.
I was shocked. Where'd that even come from? I'd dated her for barely a month, and in that time had only managed to see her once having opted more hang outs with Calvin. Then he dated her after we broke up. When did he think I'd have the time to lose my virginity with someone I questioned whether or not I could before marriage? "No, we definitely never got that far..." I said.
"Yeah, I know... I took her virginity..." he sent.
Now a weird Romeo sat there shocked and even more confused. Dating the girl had been one thing, but I couldn't understand what the purpose was. Was it because he had a V-card now? I already knew he'd been the first in our group to lose his virginity. Was he mad at me for something? I only knew how to be sad. "Oh..." I sent back, unsure of what to say.
"Yeah..." he said. And that was it from Calvin.
I'd made another best friend throughout grade 10, Milli. He was dating one of Juliet's friends. He smoked pot and tried to convince me on several occasions to try it. I told him not to bother, I was good on drugs. Except now summer had happened, and I was only looking towards the fringes of Bat Country. I was growing convinced that should I make it out of this high school thing, I was going to need some upgrading for Microbiology.
When Milli asked again a week before my Grade 11 started, I still told him I was good Marijuana. "Come on, just once, for my grade 12 year," he said being a year older. I knew how hard I'd been trying just to manage, so I agreed to celebrate his last year, "Just this one time, for you, to celebrate your last year and shit,"
I snuck out at night and met him at the Rec Centre. Milli pulled out an intricate piece of smoking hardware. It was expensive and looked beautiful, even if I didn't smoke. But all that, to smoke weed?
He walked me through it and it tasted as gross as it smelt. I coughed as they laughed. I asked them a bunch of questions and couldn't tell if I was high. They assured me that no one really got high the first time, a concept that seemed weird. Why?
I went home to sleep and had been wondering why I couldn't sleep for ages. I laid in my bed and focused on my brain. Something was playing up there. A movie reel, in the form of an old family film projector. It was playing out memories from my life. I was trying to view them, but the reel was going too fast.
I had to reach out to catch a memory as soon as it started. One. Two. I'd try and get as much information as I could. After a few I realized they were all terrible. Little Romeo laid there and thought, Well, no wonder I can't eat or sleep! My life's been pretty crappy! And that was that. I started grade 11 a few days later, unable to move away. Hey, just two more years... right?