There and Back Again: A Lovers Tale by Sarah A George

As Valentine’s Day comes around again, I’d like to reflect on the changes I have been through in the past year, but this time in a more thoughtful manner than my previous attempt.

A year ago I wrote to Juliet on a whim. I was passing through Verona for the day and having recently seen the film Letters to Juliet (starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave) I thought it would be a beautiful idea. The content of my letter though, had been sitting, festering in my mind for months and it felt like a relief to pour it all out. I didn’t really expect to get a reply, let alone to win the prize for the most beautiful letter.

My weekend at the festival of love in Verona was a  moment in my life that I will never forget. Every girl secretly yearns to be treated like a star and  I definitely found my 5 minutes of fame. From interviews with local TV stations to photo shoots with The Sun and Associated Press… I was totally dazzled by the whole experience. The journalists longed for my  letter to be the result of a painful break up, a broken heart: it would have made their articles far more exciting i’m sure! But the honest truth is just that I lost my way. Studying philosophy, we were taught to question, again and again. I took it too far. Some people perhaps can live without beliefs and hopes and dreams. I can’t. I stumbled into the dark and it had nothing to do with any man or boy.

In the year that has passed I have fought and cried, loved and… survived. Bit by bit, I clawed back all those pieces of myself that had been chipped away, leaving me floundering.

And now who would believe it, but I have become a Secretary to Juliet, joined that wonderful group of volunteers that reply to each and every letter on behalf of Shakespeare’s heroine. I never realised just how hard it would be. There are letters, like mine, that yearn for some reassurance of love. Those I understand for I have been there, yet being responsible for restoring hope to another human being is pretty scary. Then there are letters that seek advice: should I leave my husband and child? Should I tell him that I love him? Should I move across the world in the name of love…? The list goes on! But I’m not daunted by the questions, I read and re-read them, ponder and mull over the emotions, then throw myself into writing the replies. That’s all I ever can do!

And while I’m sitting at my desk, gazing at the quill and inkwell, I try to figure out what to do with my life. Career plans, graduate studies, jobs… to most people it seems like a scary time. I’m not afraid – I’m eager to get started with this next stage of my life, but i’m not afraid. And the reason for that is that I have found faith again, faith in all that is beautiful in this life, and most especially love.

I walked out of the dark. My letter to Juliet made me turn my face to the sun, and then all the shadows fell behind me.

One thought on “There and Back Again: A Lovers Tale by Sarah A George

  1. Hello Sarah! I think you can’t even imagine who I am..
    The way I found your blog (your pretty and intense blog) can probably be described like: serendipity, maybe?
    Forse è meglio che continui in italiano, cosa che per me risulta più agevole e per te, a quanto ricordo, non rappresenta per nulla una difficoltà: sono Valentina, e ci siamo conosciute proprio in quel di Verona, insieme a Beth, alla premiazione delle lettere a Giulietta. E complimenti per la tua “promozione” a segretaria: sono sinceramente felice per te, e anche se ti ho conosciuta appena, sono convinta che tu sia in grado di fare un ottimo lavoro.
    Bè, questo lunghissimo commento è nato solo come pretesto per salutarti, dopo averti ritrovata in maniera così inaspettata!
    Mi ha fatto davvero piacere “incontrarti” di nuovo, anche se solo via virtuale.
    Un abbraccio,

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