What if Romeo hadn’t crashed the Capulet ball, hadn’t crossed stars with ingenue Juliet, hadn’t tossed his heart up to a balcony in Capua?
And what if Juliet had smacked down that tentative tender heart, had capitulated to the withered logic of parents, politics, and polite society, had covered her ears to the sweet sound of angels singing: “This is the one, this is the one”?
The world would still have spun on its axis. The tragedy of a romance would still have occurred.
The Capulets and Montagues would still have spit out each other’s family name and stomped on its heritage.
But the major question still remains: what would have become of the celebrated young lovers themselves, this being a tragedy even greater than the Bard could tell.
Romeo would have eventually married a much younger woman from a most proper family.
His tights would have grown snug from good food and drink, while his spirit would have settled comfortably into the blue armchair of aristocracy.
He would have grown bald, apathetic, and unaware. No lightning bolt of love would ever have struck his spine and electrified his soul until the hairs stood up on the back of his neck.
He would have slipped through life unconscious of his own power and magic.
The same for Juliet.
She would have pleased her family, negated herself, and agreed to marry an older man of wealth and power.
Her beauty would have coalesced into a mask while the light of possibility dimmed slowly from her eyes until the vacant stare made her even more alluring.
The sweet breath of her children would become the only tether holding her to earth, preventing her spirit from drying to dust and disappearing on a kiss.
Oh how the choices of one or the other could have turned this romantic tragedy into a tragic romance.
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?
Leave thy wife and return to sweet Juliet.