By Elizabeth Collins
Chapter One: The Vision
Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
--Juliet, in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
With an almost audible bang, I feel my life change the first moment I see him. His shine catches my eye from a distance. At first, I stop still in my tracks, utterly stunned. Then I run closer toward this vision to see exactly what it is.
What can I say? I am in many ways just a regular girl, or perhaps like a crow; sparkly things attract me. A golden-tan boy, just a bit older than me, standing in the late-summer sunset, shirtless—that’s an attention-getter. A boy clad in only jeans, there in his driveway hefting two cans of paint, two probably full cans that are maybe kind of heavy, making his arms taut with sinewy muscles, making him sweat a bit, making him glow and shimmer: well, I am sixteen and especially prone to attraction. But to anyone, of any age, I think, a guy like that is undeniably sexy.
I want to look long and hard at him, get my fill before this beauty dissipates, before he walks away. Yet I know that this vision will live in my memory, in the sweetness of my imagination. I know I can fall for that.
Fall, I do. On the ground. Hard. I spit some small pebbles from my mouth. My knee is scraped up and starting to bleed in thin red lines. The heels of my hands are burning, tiny white curls of skin peeling back. What a humiliating splat. Just standing here, basically still, lost in a daydream, I have tripped over absolutely nothing.