A Writer's Perspective

November 14, 2008
This is life. No, this is living happening in this pigeon polluted plaza currently overflowing with tourists, photographers, and Hispanic boys on skateboards. Behind me, I hear the laughter of tiny children playing in the fountains; the very sound of life itself.

Oh, how I wish I were a photographer, able to take the one picture that would convey the thousand words I so desperately want to write. There is a story to be told here; a story so beautiful, I feel absolutely incapable of telling it. For not only do I find myself at a loss as a narrator, but I realize the impossibility of learning enough to do such a story justice; to convey fully the history of this place and of it's people.

For instance, the dingy looking woman in mismatched clothing, leather bag slung carelessly over her left shoulder, eyes bloodshot, and breath, rank, who just walked over to inquire whether or not I could buy her a meal... what is her story? What is it that has reduced her to such a low style of living? Is it the same thing that leaves her eyes red and, after receiving my decline, has her stumbling over to a dark man at a nearby table to repeat the same question producing the same results? I am left to wonder how it is that she landed herself in her current predicament as she bums a smoke from the man and takes off down the street out of sight.

What about the older looking man in the brown cowboy hat who seems incapable of putting down his cell phone... what is it that undeniably catches his attention? Is it work that keeps him occupied, or is he on a call with his daughter who is missing him while he is out of town? Or even, the unkempt woman in a rainbow dress that is pacing around aimlessly… Is this part of her daily routine, to visit the plaza routinely greeting strangers and watching the traffic going by?

Even the architecture here seems to tell a story. To my left is a beautiful church built entirely of stone in which bells ring everyday at noon. How many years have passed since its’ construction? How many hundreds of people have discovered God, been baptized, and had eulogies spoken for them there?

Unfortunately, I realize these are questions to which I will never have all of the answers.

My thoughts are interrupted by a man in green button up shirt decorated by a rather prominent button that reads, “How may I help you?” I smile as he greets me and asks if I am from Ireland. For the thousandth time today, I chide myself for wearing the green shirt that bares my shoulders, proudly displaying my pale skin and red hair for all the world to see. I shake my head politely, accept his compliments, and settle back in my seat as he wanders away.

I decide to sit for a few more moments, watching as people walk by, imagining their story and how it is that it brought them here. Reluctantly, I rise to collect my belongings. I smooth my shirt, then saunter off in the direction of the City Council building, inspired, and in need of a nice, cold glass of water.





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