When I was younger, I was never alone. Perhaps I spent my own personal time in solitude, but the lightest and most prominent memories I've retained have been with two people. Only ever two.
Romeo, my dear cos, was the youngest of us, and during that fated summer, a boy of only 16. Mercutio sat upon the cusp of manhood and lived as so. His passions were many and frequent: women, friends, and fighting. Mercutio lived off the very essence of life, stealing the sweetness of the greatest of dreams and living them like reality.
As for myself, you may ask? I lived like I now die, always trailing behind others. I ran at a pace that kept me at a constant and safe rate. Perhaps that's why I have managed to live so long. Though I was second oldest of my group, I was placed in a position similar to that of a sympathy-acquiring little brother. I was known for my ability to run endlessly, searching for some kind of answer to a question that had not been asked yet.
I must pose the same question to you: What, if any at all, is the point of existence when we are all fated to serve as fertilizer to roses?
The phrase 'That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet' is one I know well, though the young girl who said it is but a mere imprint in my mind. I often think about the statement. If it is true, then why is it that Death in her many forms becomes that much more terrifying as you speak of her more? I fear not her name, but I fear those that are synonymous with it: ending, demise, casualty, downfall, eternal rest, bereavement. All seem much more grim and downtrodden than Death's name herself.
What of the word love? One may tell another than he is in love (and perhaps that man may tell another and another), but that is not the same as to love. I have been in love with La Muette Capulet for years and will continue to, though she has gone the way of her Lady Juliet and my cos. I have loved my sons for equally significant amounts of time and yet if I were ever to say 'I am in love with my sons,' the word seems unholy and wrong.
Do not fret, dear Romeo and Mercutio. Rest assured that I have always loved thee.
I feel Death's breath upon the nape of my neck. She is swift and sweet. Her face is sharp, her cheek bones high. I steal glances of her, but she is gone a moment later. It's as if I am catching smoke with my bare hands, the last of my generation to do so.
Did light-hearted Mercutio feel the slowly-tightening grasp of Death, as she played with her food before she consumed it? Did innocent Romeo take her by the hand to be lead away as he lay dying next to Juliette? Did Tybalt, Prince of Cats, curse the fleeing of the last of his nine lives? Did Juliette drag Death with her, on her search for her Romeo?
My last wish is simply this: Do not let history repeat itself, not for one moment. Forget about me; forget about my generation, which in one summer was nearly wiped out completely. Let my face simply fade into your memory and become unused like the arithmetic of your youth. If a rose by any other name were to smell as sweet then remember me not as Benvolio Montague, but remember me as dead.