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A Modern Knight's Tale This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Her house, sitting atop a steep hill, looms before me out of the night, cold and forbidding. Her home is a fortress, a castle made impenetrable to all who would dare call as suitors. The drawbridge is up, the doors are barred, and the battlements are secured. As I approach riding my armored steed, a silver Ford Pinto, I hear no sounding of trumpets, no fanfare to announce my arrival. The foreboding silence is broken only by the rapid pounding of my heart and the clanking of my steed's heavy armor. All is dark, save for the glowing illumination emanating from a single window high up in the north tower of the castle. This light is a beacon for me, her faithful knight. It is her love beckoning me to rescue her from this tower prison.

As I gaze upward, my heart urges me to fly to the arms of my beloved, using "love's light wings," to "o'erperch the wall." But I must resist. I must stay strong, with my feet on the ground, and, for the time being, hold our love in abeyance. There are strict orders from the lord and lady of the castle forbidding our rendezvous; orders rooted not in malice, but in the protective love of parent for child.

My lady's parents live in a world of medieval customs, where young women are not permitted to entertain suitors; where couples are chaperoned at all times; where knights chastely court their ladies from a distance. Must I remain mired in the middle ages, forced to abide by archaic customs of courtship? No! I am a modern Romeo, romantic and strong. I climb toward the tower light.

Opening the window to her sanctuary, I am smothered with kisses. Alas, they are not from my lady, but from our only ally - Brittany, her loyal and trustworthy retainer. "Keep silent!" I exclaim, but it is too late. As I listen to Brittany's exuberant greeting, I realize that her high-pitched bark has awakened the entire castle.

"Go quickly, my love," urges my lady. "Hurry! My father approaches!"

Hastily, I scramble out the window, mount my waiting steed, and gallop away from the forbidden castle toward the welcoming lights of my own home. These lights provide illumination as I reflect upon the night's events. I realize that her father and mother can't be blamed for their actions. They are just trying to be good parents and do what they think is best for their daughter. They were born and raised in a different country, with their own set of values and traditions. How difficult it must be for them to understand and assimilate an entirely foreign culture.

My own parents have always encouraged me to try to appreciate other people's customs and beliefs. Like Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, my father often reminds me that "you never really understand a person until you walk around in his shoes for a while." Who knows, perhaps someday I too will want to erect a fortress to protect my own daughter from errant knights. I will try to resist that impulse, knowing that children need freedom as well as guidance. Hopefully her parents will soon realize that to keep their daughter, they must let her go. Until that time, watching the light shining from her tower window, I will remain a faithful knight loving "pure and chaste from afar." n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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