Glenn Dixon's Juliet's Answer

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

Another pair of storied Calgary lovers: Florence Ladue & Guy Weadick (Photo: Calgary Stampede)

Another pair of storied Calgary lovers: Florence Ladue & Guy Weadick (Photo: Calgary Stampede)

In a Calgary high school, Glenn Dixon introduces his students to Shakespeare’s timeless love story, Romeo and Juliet. At home, he struggles with his own story of unrequited love. He fell for Claire when they were both working on their graduate degrees at the University of Calgary. As the years pass, Dixon waits for Claire to fall in love with him. That love story ends on a pathway beside the Bow River, but it sends him to Romeo and Juliet's Verona where a new love awaits.

 

A pathway runs along the riverbank where I live. You can walk across a footbridge and off into a forest of Douglas fir trees. Claire and I walked there dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times over the years. She always had cold hands. Her fingertips would go white and then purple. Even on the brightest spring days, her fingers lost their color. She’d hold them up for me to see, shaking her head, surprised at their hue. On the far side of the river, train tracks run along a ridge. Long trains thumped through, carrying wheat and canola to the Pacific markets of China and Japan and India. Claire always waved to the conductors. They leaned out of their tiny windows above the roaring engines to make sure the tracks were clear ahead. She raised a hand with fingertips the color of amethyst and the conductors waved back at her. Once, after a long train had passed, she turned to me, glowing. “You’re my best friend,” she said, and I didn’t know what to say in return. So I said nothing at all.

 

Glenn Dixon, Juliet’s Answer (Toronto: Simon & Schuster, 2017)