I have two blogs in the works. One is about my voting, my daughter’s voting for the first time and my son’s refusal to vote. The second is about my trip to the Irish Famine Memorial in downtown NYC. However, I wanted to take this moment for something else…
I have friends up to NYC from back home. They come once or twice a year, we do all kinds of touristy crap. Some stuff I like, some I do begrudgingly (as I am not one to shop). Yesterday my friends, Amanda and I decided to visit the Irish Famine Memorial. It is something I had on my list of ‘things to do, eventually’. Amanda’s friend and her boyfriend were to join us. Along with the boyfriend were two of his friends. We had a decent sized crowd moving around the city by this time. There was one kid in the lot who was VERY quiet. I thought, you know there is always one. He kind of reminded me of the curly haired boy from Rosanne. Sitting here I am ashamed that (due to hearing impairment and standing on a crowded street during introductions in Chinatown) I did not catch what his name was. Per my regular habits, I call most everyone ‘sweetheart’. This allows me to speak with informality to people (whether I know their name or not). So for the afternoon, I called all of our extended party ‘sweetheart’. I now wish I had this kid’s name so I could send out good thoughts to him randomly in a hopes that the cosmos would smile brightly upon his curly hair.
As we rounded the street between the church and the site of the WTC, I see Amanda’s friends walk briskly away from us and down the street. I thought they were just being kids. They then were out of sight. Amanda turned to me, with cell phone in hand, and told me that she had received a text from her friend. The kid had to get away from where we were standing. His father had died in the Towers. The worse part is that we had to cross over at Vesey Street where the holes in the fence are surrounded by tourists trying to catch a peek at where it all occurred. The kid bolted to the other side. Once at the Memorial things were lighter. Making our way back uptown we were able to avoid the site all together.
But the look of sadness on the kid’s face as we rounded the crosswalk, he was sitting there on the ground, out of view. I looked over my shoulder at the people all stopping to catch a glimpse of history. To them this was a tourist attraction, a location to check off of their I (heart) NYC map. To this kid…it is the place that wrought grief on his family. Really I get the tourists. So many people were no where near danger, yet the evil was felt round the world that day. I think some people just want to understand why it happened and maybe if they see it, make it real before them, then it will click… Whatever the reason, for a time that day I had felt that I had intruded upon a very personal part of this kid’s life without asking permission first. I felt wrong about my curiosity over the progress of the rebuilding.
Wish a good thought for this kid. And remember that a tourist attraction is not necessarily all that attractive to some.