After The Fire

I was meeting someone who was new in town, the text came through with a time and place. I hesitated before I replied, how to word it, how to give an explanation without sounding harsh.

“8.30 is perfect. I haven’t been back to Villagio since the fire, would you mind if we met somewhere else?”

The reply was instant.

“Sure, sorry, we came after the fire.”

It’s a personal thing. I know everyone feels differently about it and I don’t begrudge anyone for going back there – but we won’t be. If it had been my children, I know I’d want the place shut down. I’d want some sort of memorial. I’d want somewhere to go, a sign of respect and remembrance. I’d want somewhere I could stand without the sound of cash registers, the sight of people eating burgers, or shopping for a new pair of sneakers.

As time goes by there’s been more and more new people. People who arrive with a clean slate, no memories of billowing smoke, distraught parents, and a city in shock. People who haven’t heard the stories, who can’t picture the faces.

But even without personal memories, we can remember them.

Today, everyday, but especially today, we remember them.

13 beautiful children.

19 people in total.

We will never forget.

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