Juliet – Work in Progress

Really short story, inspired by something pink that was hanging in the closet. Brandon thinks I’m nuts.

Please comment. You can be honest. Lord knows, my self esteem already hits rock bottom. You can’t make it go lower than that.

*Update* I keep revising this thing. So the version you’re reading is the most current. Hopefully it will be fully finished at some point. Haha!

Here goes:

JULIET

Annie peeks over the planters filled with lively purple pansies, and over the edge of the white marble balcony. Eight feet below, on the lush green lawn, her older brothers are waving gleefully. She blinks at them, twirling her pink Hello Kitty umbrella on her shoulder, with a look of uncertainty on her face.

Why wasn’t I born a boy? Annie asks herself just then, tilting her head as she looks at her two older brothers, 10 year old Alex and 8 year old Kit. Look at them down there, she thinks, running around in the soccer jerseys from their, and Thailand’s, favorite teams of 1980 era, Liverpool and Brazil. Mommy won’t let me own a soccer jersey. Soccer jerseys are for boys, she said. Since I can’t go play in my pretty powder blue sun dress, Alex makes Kit loan me his Manchester United jersey. Eww. I’m wearing the enemy’s jersey that’s not even mine, perching on a balcony.

Annie’s face suddenly lights up at the thought. A balcony.

Isn’t that where Juliet wait for her Romeo, on a balcony?

Then indeed, I am Juliet! I have the long flowing hair. It’s not blonde, but I think Romeo would mind. I even have a pretty umbrella! Perhaps I can toss my long hair down to Romeo so he could climb up and rescue me from my wicked stepsisters. We can then defeat the evil queen together with my umbrella! What a brilliant…

“Yo! Annie! We don’t have all day.”

“See? We did it! It’s okay. Follow us.”

“Use the umbrella, Annie. Remember Mary Poppins?”

“Come on. We have to go find Grand Master Liang on the Cherry Blossom Island.”

Annie’s brothers are waiting for her, the Grand Master Liang’s daughter, the legendary heroine, the key to the secret knowledge of the Drop Dead Stone Touch, according to the Hong Kong kung fu soap they are watching at night, “Legend of the Jade Dragon Sword”. If Annie’s brothers are good, Mommy would let them watch the whole show which ends at 8 p.m. Because all three of them share the nursery, Annie gets to watch the show too. If the boys misbehave, they would only get the first 15-30 minutes of the show, and have to watch the rest on VHS after school the next day.

On the weekend, the children get to make their own episode. Their “house”, a part of the three three-storey town homes that made up their residence, becomes the locations of the kung fu epic. The Cherry Blossom Island is the garden area under this big tree that blooms purple flowers twice a year. The House of the Jade Dragon is, of course, Annie’s house. The servant passage way on the ground floor is the secret tunnels under the city where they could find a gang of beggar-warriors.

On a typical Sunday, after the morning cartoons, the whole family gathers at Grandmother’s dining room for Sunday brunch. The kids, rounded up by their nannies and herded into either Grandma’s living room, or back into the dining room at Annie’s house for the kiddy version of the same meal cooked up by the family cook in the main kitchen, directly below Grandmother’s quarter. After the meal, the children visit with Grandmother and off they go to their weekly adventure. They romp through the vast backyard, kicking up dust in the graveled office parking lot, scaling along the wall of the back alley under the laundry lines, and up “the Tower” to the fourth floor office.

Annie’s cousins are at their grandparents today, or else they would have the full cast of the Jade Dragon. Nonetheless, it is still fun with only the three main characters.

Alex, athletically graceful, assigns himself the blade master antagonist. His sidekick of the day, the plumper and kinder Kit, is the farm boy with a good heart and quick footwork in training with the master. If their cousins are playing with them, as the youngest boy, Kit usually ends up playing the evil Grand Master Liang. (Today is supposedly played by the gardener.) He is especially thrilled today to get to be a good guy for once. As for the role of the heroine, the sassy, genius daughter of the grand master, of course, falls on the girl with the longest hair, just like the TV character, Annie.

But today, Annie doesn’t want to be a high flying martial artist. She wants to be Juliet. And Juliet doesn’t jump off balconies.

As when Annie begins to turn around, and her brothers’ encouragement starts to sound like heckling, she is reminded that if she doesn’t follow the boys today, she will be left alone for the rest of the afternoon. If she abandons them now, the heir to the Cherry Blossom Island in their book will be lost at sea in this chapter. Who knows if she would return next Sunday, or the Sunday after that.

Boys don’t play dolls, Annie knows that. If she wants company, she will have to run with the wolf pack. It has to be the adventures with Alex and Kit, or tea party with her stuffed animals in her room.

Annie turns around, and edges forward. She makes eye contact with her brothers down below, tightening the grip on her umbrella.

I will be Juliet tomorrow, Annie chants softly to herself. I can wear the pretty blue dress, standing on the balcony, waiting for my Romeo tomorrow.

When she leaps off the balcony with Hello Kitty flutters above her head, it hits her.

Tomorrow is Monday.

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