Who lived here? From first tenant until now. Who were these people? What were their names, their ages? How many slammed this door in anger? Did these bricks absorb the laughter and joy and mix them with the tears and grief of lives lived together?
These letters etched tell a story. Unheard now but inscribed in history. Do they note friendship long lost or lovers that still linger in the secret shadows of memories? Or a dreamer who dreamed they would leave these streets only to be followed back one day by tv cameras to tell their story of humble beginnings and dizzy heights.
These bricks, in this house, on this street, in this city have stood through times of pain and violence and turmoil. They have resiliently clung to the mortar that binds them to each other and their foundation. Refusing to budge under the weight and strain of gravity. Avoiding the explosions merely by being in the right place at the right time. Not by any choice of the bricks or good planning, purely by chance, or providence depending on your ilk.
My son’s thoughts often astound me. He and I are so different in how we think and process information. He commented recently, as we approached the city, that people should have to build into their building plans how they would demolish the building. He said it was obvious the way buildings where built up and around each other that this was never taken into consideration. I would never ever have thought of that. When I look at an old building I’m wondering and planning how it can be preserved and restored. I feel an injustice when perfectly good houses are tumbled to make room for newer models.
When I see bricks and concrete and buildings I want to see the people that have lived there. Their stories reverberate in the space between the walls, untold and lingering. How could you tear it down? Burying the stories of lives lived on those floors and the sounds that floated to the ceilings.
These letters etched in red bricks tell a story, of time, humanity and resilience and I hope; hope. Because hope does not disappoint.