Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Guanajuato, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers lose their life.
The which if you with patient eyes attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
William Shakespeare Modified
The Alley of the Kiss
Our story takes place 300 years ago in the fair city of Guanajuato, Mexico. Our scene opens with the rich Don Alejandro Santiago taking stock in his life. His silver mines in the hills around Guanajuato provide his family with all the comforts of life. He is very protective of his only daughter, Carmen. Alejandro allows Carmen to attend Mass every day if she is escorted by her handmaiden.
Across town, Señor Mateo Diego, who is a mine manager in the local Santiago Silver Mine, has high hopes for his oldest son Luis. He has managed to secure his son an apprenticeship with the famous Mexican artist, Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera. Mateo is always reminding Luis to keep his nose to the grindstone. He tells Luis, “With study and hard work, you can secure a job painting frescoes in the soon-to-be-built Templo de San Francisco”.
From the Chaos Came the Exception
One day on his way to work, Luis crossed paths with the beautiful Carmen on the city plaza. She was on her way to church with her ever-faithful handmaiden. Luis and Carmen were both immediately attracted to each other. Luis was so taken with Carmen, he would show up early every morning just to talk with her as they walk across the city plaza together.
It was during those brief, daily outings that Carmen and Luis fell in love. They dared to dream about being together forever. But she was the Spanish daughter of a wealthy man and he was the son of a poor mestizo miner. Carmen’s father would never approve of such a marriage and Luis’s father thought it was all folly and would end badly.
One day Luis noticed Carmen’s balcony opened up to a narrow alley, and the house with another balcony directly across from it had that room for rent. The alley was so narrow that both balconies were only a few inches apart.
Luis rented the room and they both leaned close and kissed across their balconies. Every day Luis got up for work he would kiss Carmen and profess his love for her, and every evening they would sit out on the balcony and talk.
These Times of Woe Afford No Time to Woo.
As young love goes so do the mistakes. It did not take long for Carmen’s father to learn of these new developments and harsh reprisals were to follow. Don Alejandro forbad his daughter “to see that boy again” and “if she did not stop he will send her back to Spain and enroll her in a Catholic convent”.
This did not break the Star-crossed Lovers bond, it drove their forbidden love deeper underground. The two lovers became more cautious and only communicated in secret. Luis promised Carmen, they would never be apart again and he would soon get a job painting frescoes in the new Templo de San Francisco. He would become rich and respectable and would be able to pay the dowry for Carmen’s hand in marriage.
Every morning Luis would write a love letter and fold it and toss it to Carmen’s balcony. When Lewis came home from work, Carmen had a return love letter for him. However, it was not long before Carmen’s father became suspicious again.
Care Keeps His Watch in Every Father’s Eye.
One day Don Alejandro announced he would be making a trip to León and would be gone for three days. The family was to say at home and do what they normally do. That night Carmen sent a note to Luis telling him that her father was out of town. She yearned for a kiss from him, it had been days since she had last embraced Luis.
Unknown to both of them Don Alejandro was still at home and plotting to catch the young lovers in the act.
Under the early morning stars, Luis flung open the doors to his balcony and hopped across to Carmen’s balcony. Carmen was excited to see him and raced to the doors. As she opened the doors to embrace Luis, Carmen’s father bust into the room with a knife in one hand and a pistol in another. He was screaming as he charged across the room, scaring both Carmen and Luis. Luis lost his balance and began to fall back over the balcony when, in sheer terror, Carmen grabbed onto his legs. But it was too late and both young lovers fell to their death on the 3rd step from the top of the Ally of the Kisses.
A Tale of Woe, Springs a Sead of Mend
The Sead of Mend: It is said that the spirits of Carmen and Luis will bless a couple that kisses on the third step from the top of the Alley of the Kiss and they will enjoy true love forever. Some believe that if a couple is trying to have a baby and they kiss on the steps the spirits of Carmen and Luis will bless them with a healthy baby.
Many locals profess to being a beneficiaries of the spirits of Carmen and Luis. The stories may seem imposable but it is sure to be one of one of Mexico’s many mysteries for a very long time.
The story of Star-crossed Lovers ending in tragedy is as old as time itself and every society have their own version. There are several versions of the Alley of the Kiss. One has Carmen’s father pushing Luis out the window then Carmen jumps in a fit of depression. One has Carmen’s father stabbing Carmen in the heart and Luis jumps. Regardless of the variations, it always ends badly for Carmen and Luis.
Other Versions of Star-Crossed Lovers
#1 Upside Down
Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.
#2 In Time
In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage – a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.
#3 Romeo and Juliet
Arguably, the most well-known pair of star-crossed lovers, the usual stuff keeps Romeo+ Juliet apart – family feuds, fatal duels, delayed messages, and an apothecary with extremely questionable ethics when it comes to poison sales. Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo, and never was a more incompetent pair of friars than the two who forgot to tell Romeo of the death-faking plan.
#4 The Titanic
Plenty of things should keep Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt-Bukater apart – their class difference, her suicide attempts, a gun-wielding Billy Zane – but they still manage to get together. They dance and drink with poor people, they make out in a luxury car, and they even invent the 1911 version of sexting when Jack sketches her in her birthday suit. They even make it off the doomed Titanic without a lifeboat, but Rose survives the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean. If only the doors were wider so they could have both floated away.
#5 Tristan + Isolde
After the fall of the Roman Empire, English orphan Tristan meets and falls in love with Irish princess Isolde, however she is set to marry Lord Marke, who raised Tristan. While unaware of her identity, he has won her hand in marriage for his lord and future king of the two countries, but now the passion of the two young people causes a rift leading to a devastating battle.
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