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"Romeo and Julien" by Maya Smith

Maya Smith made the shortlist for the Shakespeare Selfie competition in the 12-18 category. Congratulations Maya!

Here is her present-day soliloquy for Romeo from Romeo and Juliet.

"Romeo and Julien" 
By Maya Smith

This world is a funny place, Julien. Here we are, in the most modern of times, with the fanciest gadgets, but touching you is virtually illegal. When I drive down the street, I see all of these boys walking with their girlfriends, hand in hand, side by side. When I’m with you, it’s all bro hugs and handshakes. We go to the diner and the guy at the counter is sharing a chocolate milkshake with his girl and you and I have to sit at opposite ends of the table and drink separate drinks, eat separate food and keep our hands to ourselves. We sit in the movie theatre and watch as Leonardo DiCaprio and all of the other guys in the audience kiss their girls while we have separate popcorn, separate drinks, separate seats, not willing to risk anything despite the darkness. You and I, we’re different. The only thing we have in common is love. Shouldn’t that be enough? 

Shouldn’t it be enough that I get the same fiery spark of electricity running through my bones when you touch my hand? Shouldn’t it be enough that my heart flutters when, while lying on the couch, you put your head on my shoulder, watching the same movies as the straight couples? I have all the same feelings that they do around their lover. Except that they don’t know the complete and utter terror that I feel if our hands brush or our lips form knowing-smiles in public. Someone could see us, Jul. 

The world has never been an open place; I understand that. But the world has always been focused on love. When will we get our chance? When will we be able to hold hands while walking down the sidewalk without listening to people jeer? When will we be able to share a milkshake or a meal without worrying that people will see us, judge us? 

When will we get to look at each other, portray all of our feelings without seeing the fear in our parents eyes. When will we walk the streets together without seeing the scars and the flashes of blood on the other person’s face and the chilling laughter of the punisher, trying to keep this world free of us? 

The truth is Julien, I love you and whatever the world gives us, we’ll take it. As long as we’re together. 

The winner of the Shakespeare Selfie competition will be announced on Friday, May 16.

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