Chick-flicks; aren’t they the greatest? Here in the UAE Tuesday nights are chick-flick nights on OSN and last week’s was “Letters to Juliet.” The movie tells the story of an American girl who wants to be a writer, arriving at Juliet’s house (in Verona, Italy) where she sees women sticking letters to the wall addressed to Juliet. Late afternoon another woman came along and collected everybody’s letters in a basket. She follows this lady and finds a group of women, calling themselves Juliet's secretaries, answering these letters on behalf of Juliet, giving advice or guidance. She ends up going with the next day to collect letters and finds a letter hidden behind a brick that went unnoticed for fifty years:
“I didn't go to him, Juliet. I didn't go to Lorenzo. His eyes were so full of trust I promised I'd meet him and run away together because my parents don't approve. But, instead, I left him waiting for me below our tree - waiting and wondering where I was. I'm in Verona now. I return to London in the morning and I am so afraid. Please, Juliet, tell me what I should do. My heart is breaking and I have no one else to turn to.
She decides to answer the letter; Claire then comes to Verona accompanied by her grandson (whose name slips my mind) which, predictably, becomes the love interest of the letter writer and of course after a few tears and misunderstandings they all end up together, living happily ever after. But it is only at the wedding of Claire and her Lorenzo (Claire is played by the elegant Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero (playing Lorenzo) is her real-life love – there is one place in the movie where she looks at him with such love and trust - and I thought, this is either real – or real good acting, that’s why I Googled it,) anyway, it is only at the wedding that the letter writer’s letter is read:
"What" and "If" are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together, side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? I don't know how your story ended but if what you felt then was true love, then it's never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn't it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart. I don't know what a love like Juliet's feels like - love to leave loved ones for, love to cross oceans for but I'd like to believe if I ever were to feel it, that I will have the courage to seize it. And, Claire, if you didn't, I hope one day that you will.
All my love,
What if … how many times have you said, or cried, or thought, or screamed those words? Many, many times have I tortured myself with what-if thoughts. Sometimes things happen to us that make us feel as if we’ve been in an industrial sized washing machine on the spin cycle. Things, which we cannot control in spite of our feeble attempt at claiming control with what-ifs: Someone close to us dies; we lose a job; get divorced; get diagnosed with cancer - we are made aware of how little control we have.
A very wise and wonderful friend of mine (thanks Chantal) taught me the three step method to “getting over it”:
1. Acknowledge, (say, write, scream if you need to, that it hurts, that you are angry and scared and feel helpless)
2. Embrace, (now allow yourself to feel weak and scared and angry and helpless)
3. Surrender, (and then, if you cannot do anything about it, you have got to LET IT GO.)
That saying about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… well, we’re not dead yet :) … have you noticed that wonderful little “it’s never too late” in the letter from Juliet? It really, truly never is, as long as you are alive, it is not too late, even if someone passed away. You may not agree with me, but I always think when we mourn the loss of a life, we mourn for ourselves, because we have been left behind. And I think the reason why we have been left behind, is because it’s never too late. It’s never too late to follow our hearts, to muster the courage to seize the next day, it’s never too late, to live happily ever after.
Juliet's secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in Verona, as well as organize events in honour of 'Romeo and Juliet'.