Mercutio is one of my favorite characters in William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. He is a jokester; that through Romeo finds his free-spirited, privileged lifestyle challenged and pays dearly. Well my Mercutio’s life was a challenge, he began his life paying dearly, but has now found his affable personality and I pray soon his rewards. His mother was the mistress of a married man. He, his brother and sister were known to his father’s family, but were scorned because of how they were made related. His mother was the anchor to this family with their detached father. He was marked with his father’s good looks, making the father’s family despise him even more.
His mother made great effort to make their family life the best she could with little help from their father. But she truly loved the father of her children and accepted their place as the “other” family. His father died when he was 7, leaving him conflicted because of the love and the hate he had for his father. The death of a parent at this tender age would be difficult for anyone. Now even the little help from the father was gone.
The struggling family was strong, creating a very unique closeness. His mother became sick. She had cancer. His siblings were there for him, but he was the one that was there for his mother. His mother did not want him to leave university for the unimaginable task – caring for her as she was dying. As she grew sicker, this teenager was not afforded the care free bliss most teenagers know. The more debilitated she became, the more resolved he became. In his heart knew he was doing what only he could do – truly care for his dying mother as she had always cared for him. He cleaned soiled bed linens, cooked and tried all a young man could do to comfort his mother. All the while keeping up with his studies in his Engineering program at university. But even the efforts and love of this young man could not save his mother and she acquiesced her final breath.
I had chatted with Mercutio online for some time without knowing this story. I already had an admiration for his dedication and loyalty to his employer. He had been working for weeks without pay because his boss was having a tough time financially. Mercutio was putting himself through university and was already struggling financially, but remained faithful to his employer when I think few would. He continued long hours without complaining because he knew again, he was doing what he needed to be doing.
When I met Mercutio for the first time in person, he was shy, quite, but very pleasant to be around for a 21 year-old. This story was told over several beers. I felt a cold dagger in my heart because I could not conceive such a tough road at such a young age. He is a beautiful young man and I saw an essential need for him to tell his story. I knew I was in a small club, few had heard this story from him. We never talked much about his history again because seeing his smiling face – shit eating grin – I knew I did not want to ask him back down his dark childhood memories. I only would mention it to express my admiration.
I recently wrote I Am A Firework. This young man is one of the people who ignites my spark, to let my colors burst. He owns the night like the 4th of July. There are few people in this world that deserve to shine more than this young man. He has shown what he is worth and leaves me in awe! This past August, Mercutio graduated from University with a degree in engineering. Meeting people like Mercutio is why I so enjoy my gypsy lifestyle. Mercutio’s determination helps drive me when dealing with my set backs because of Multiple Sclerosis. I am proud of Mercutio. His dark days are behind him, his care free days are ahead of him – just opposite the character Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet. My Mercutio is truly a FIREWORK!!