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The Other Anne (short story)
#1
I wrote this after a visit to Shakespeare's birthplace.

The Other Anne

In the Stratford-upon-Avon village church, the parish record reads that William Shakespeare was to marry Anne Whateley, a girl who lived in the Stratford area; however, the names changed at the wedding, and Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway instead. She was several months pregnant at the time. No one knows if Anne Whateley’s name was intentionally written or a clerical error.

My name is Anne, and I loved a man once. You don’t know my name, most people don’t. They know hers, the other Anne. They don’t know about all the days I waited at the end of Sheep Street for him to come walking, ink-stained, filled with ideas from school. As we walked past Market Square, he would regale me with stories about faraway countries I would never visit and about London, the place he wanted to go most in the world.

No one knows how much I loved him, the bright-eyed, clever boy who made me dance the night of my first party, pulling me away from the crowd of shy girls and forcing me to join the maze of couples. That’s who he was to me. He was the one who made me see the world in ways I’d never seen it before.

Mine was the ear that heard the silly poems and the grand ideals, mine the eyes that laughed as he acted out village plays, mine the feet that walked the fields with him as afternoon turned to dusk. I was content to listen, he to speak.

No one saw the looks he gave me across the room the day the parson’s daughter married the miller’s youngest son, or the blush that made my cheeks burn. I wore a blue dress, and he kissed me in the barn. It was dark. He called me beautiful.

Day after day I endured the smell of the tannery, forcing myself to smile, to nod, to love his loved ones. And he, in turn, talked books with my father by the fire.

No one knows of our long spring and summer, school days turned to work days, evenings spent whispering by candlelight. We smiled, and our hands touched. Everyone knows of the courting, you see, but they have the wrong Anne in mind.

I thought summer would last forever, but autumn finally came. Whispering tongues in the village told a story too ugly to contemplate, and I refused to believe that my bright-eyed boy was as fickle as I feared.

No one saw him kneel to me in the barn, ironic imitation of the night three years before, confessing his fault and professing his love. I said yes, terrified of losing him.

They read the banns in the village church, and our names were written for all to see. There, even now, you may see them, a cruel unblemished mockery. I was happier than I had ever been, and every night we walked again through the fields as we had when we were children. London, he said, it must be London. There we would be happy, and I would be his queen.

No one knows how enchantingly he spoke, half-mad with passion for the words, and I was drunk, my ears intoxicated by things I could never understand. But he said I made him write. He said he saw my eyes when he sat down with his pen, and I believed him.

Should I have doubted? Even now as I read, I see myself. Or am I deluded? Perhaps you know better than I. Perhaps in your wisdom you have put form and color to the faces that stare out of his words. But I see myself.

No one saw my face the moment winter came crashing down on me. My hands shook as I read the words. The other Anne. Forever. He with her, and I alone. A child. Nothing more, nothing less.

I married the shopkeeper’s son from Warwick, and I never saw that boy again. He went to London; she stayed behind.

No one knows me. You think you know the other Anne, know the struggles that separated them for years and kept them apart. You name your children after her and debate her merits. But no one knows my name.

Perhaps you know me, though you do not realize it. Perhaps you have seen my tears on countless stages and watched as I professed my love. Maybe you have felt the bittersweetness of love deferred, confused by the sadness of a supposed comedy. Have you heard his voice tell of my beauty, my grace, the charm of my eyes? No one knows me, but all have seen me.

No one knows my name. My fate is the fate of those who choose to love the brilliant imperfect, to give themselves to the brightness and try to disregard the dark. Did he remember, or do I write myself in where I do not belong? You decide. Look for me, yelling from a balcony, screaming at the future. Watch me drowning in the sorrow of a murdered father and an insane lover. Hear my screams as my life is snuffed out by a jealous husband. Watch me smile at princes and laugh at suitors. Catch my eye as my wit dazzles the room. Cry with me. Can’t you see? I am not the one you remember. He wrote my heart, but not my name.

His name was Will. No one knows me. I am the other Anne.
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#2
Wow.. I didn't think short storys could be that good.. I don't know anything about Shakespeare, and this is probably the 2nd short story I've read in my life..
I simply loved the emotion being put down on paper, the sad and special state of mind being describe is so specific, it certainly hit home.. it should be hard for me to relate because I'm a guy, and that main emotion described doesn't realy get inside our head, but you did such a good job that I can only bow with respect to the hard, despaired, haunted and very real emotion and state of mind being presented, ty

P.S

You can tell they pay you to write stuff Tongue
Change yourself,
And your reality will change.
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#3
(03-11-2013, 06:31 PM)D-Dan Wrote: Wow.. I didn't think short storys could be that good.. I don't know anything about Shakespeare, and this is probably the 2nd short story I've read in my life..
I simply loved the emotion being put down on paper, the sad and special state of mind being describe is so specific, it certainly hit home.. it should be hard for me to relate because I'm a guy, and that main emotion described doesn't realy get inside our head, but you did such a good job that I can only bow with respect to the hard, despaired, haunted and very real emotion and state of mind being presented, ty

P.S

You can tell they pay you to write stuff Tongue

Thank you SO much, D-Dan. I love everything you said, especially the part about the emotion being more accessible to you than you might have expected. As an INTP, a big part of writing for me is to try to convey mood and tone to people so that we connect in some kind of metaphysical shared space Wink

When I visited Stratford, I was totally surprised to hear this story and see the parish register. I'm not much more of a fan of traditional short stories than you are, but I was struck by the incredible possibilities this little historical footnote suggests. If it was a clerical error, then that's all there is to it, but if it was intentional, then the implications for Shakespeare's life are really significant.

There's a famous short story; I can't remember who it's by at this point, but it's about Pontius Pilate at the end of his life. He meets and talks to an old friend, and the man says something about Jesus of Nazareth, and Pilate remarks something about how he "can't recall the name." (If that doesn't ring a bell, Pilate is the one who ordered Jesus' death.) The irony is huge to me--the point of view of a relatively insignificant person who has had a massive brush with history, so that's kind of where this came from.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling, but I'm incredibly glad you liked it.
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#4
I especially liked where she related all of the things that she claimed to be hers. Heartbreaking. That pain really leapt off the page. And I'm with her. They ARE hers. She has a right to claims them.

But in the end, like she finds, they gain us little.
Author of The INTP Experience.
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#5
My goodness! I really enjoyed it; it almost sounded like something I would write. I LOVED the part describing how all of his writing was about her, at its heart. Beautiful. Absolutely breathtaking piece of work.
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#6
This story is captivating, the details, the special info you provide the reader with! I am waiting impatientely for your next pieces of writing!
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#7
I didn't expect that short storys could be that good!
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