Kurtis stopped and starred. It took him a minute to take everything in. He had never seen anything like this before. He never imagined there could be this many people in one place. Amazed by the city of New York, Kurtis sat down and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. The cigarette made him relax. Doing tricks with his zippo made him feel like he was home again. But Kurtis liked it here. Yes, it was different. But, he was ready for an adventure.
While exhaling a lungful of smoke, Kurtis thought about what he would do. He had already done everything that he planned. Kurt laughed to himself, “Maybe I should have put some more thought in to this whole thing. Oh, well. I think I’ll just see the sights for a while.”
Kurt remembered the list of places he wanted to visit. The thing that really stuck out to him was the World Trade Center Memorial. That is where he would go first.
After stopping by the Grand Hyatt to drop off his luggage, Kurtis started walking. He wanted to see all the places. He wanted to be a part of all the hustle and bustle. And most of all, he wanted to forget for a while about everything he was running away from.
As he was walking, Kurt saw a building. What is that building? I know I’ve seen it before...he thought to himself. Then, in a whisper he said allowed, “The Empire State building.” Kurt stared in amazement. The building was tall and beautiful. It reminded him of pictures that he had seen when he was little.
Kurt stared while he walked. That was his mistake. The next time you are downtown, just look at the people. You’ll be able to tell quite easily who is from out of town and who isn’t. Kurt never broke his stare on the Empire State building. As he stepped out in the street, Kurt failed to see the Shelby GT burning up the street. He took two more steps then blinked. When he opened his eyes he was laying on the ground. His leg was killing him but after a quick second, he concluded that he wasn’t hurt that bad.
“Holy shit, are you alright?” Jon shouted in frantic.
“What the hell happened?!?” yelled the man.
“I was just looking at everything, soaking it in,” replied the man. “I’m not from around here, and I know sorry isn’t enough.”
“I’m sorry too, man” said Kurt. “I didn’t mean to yell. I was just confused. It was just as much my fault as it was yours. Too busy gawking at this damn city.”
“I blame the city, too,” the man said with a smirk. “Can I do anything to make up for it?”“Don’t worry about it, man,” reasoned Kurt. “You didn’t mean to.”
“Are you sure you don’t want anything? A ride, anything?” the man offered.
“Well...now that you mention it...a ride wouldn’t be too bad. My leg is killing me right now,” said Kurt.
“Alright, where to, bro?” Jon replied.
“I was on my way to the World Trade Center Memorial,” said Kurt.
“Hey, get off the road!!” some angry cab driver said from behind the man’s car.
“Alright, we gotta get going, man,” the man said, pointing to the car. “Hop in.”
“Sounds good,” agreed Kurt. He walked to the side of the car and opened the door. “Oh wow. Butterfly doors. Nice, man!” exclaimed Kurt.
“Thanks,” the man said. “Parents’ money.”
The two hopped into the car, fastened their seat belts, and continued on down the road.
“In all the confusion I never caught your name,” said Kurt.
“Jon,” he said. “Jon Doe.”
Kurt laughed out loud. “No really, man. I’m not gonna sue you or anything. What’s your name?” asked Kurt again.
“Seriously,” Jon answered with a deadpan expression. “That’s my name. Jon Samuel Doe.”
“Oh. Sorry,” apologized Kurt. “I just didn’t think anyone actually had that name.”
“It’s fine,” Jon replied. “I get that a lot. It’s like my parents wanted me to live a life blended into the society, but that didn’t work out as planned.”
“I see,” murmured Kurt. He felt awkward for saying what he did.
Silence filled the interior of the car, casted away from the busy city, separated by a single pane of glass. Jon dug out his pack of cigarettes and gestured an offering.
“You smoke?” Jon asked.
“Yeah. Got mine right here,” replied Kurt as he pulled out his pack of Camels.
“Oh, nice,” Jon admired. “Got a Zippo, too?” He pulled his out.
“Yes!!!” exclaimed Kurtis. “I’ve used it ever since I was eighteen years old. Haven’t met too many other people with one either.”
“Oh yeah? Where ya from, stranger?” Jon asked.
“A tiny town called Carlock, Illinois. The name is Kurtis May, by the way. But call me Kurt,” answered Kurt.
“Oh, things are different in cities, Kurt,” Jon explained. “Every body has a high demand for the ‘cool’ items, hence the car.” His arms moved around the interior with a lit cigarette in hand.
“It sure is a nice one,” complimented Kurt. “So, are you from around here?”
“Actually, no,” Jon told Kurt. “I came up here to start anew. I’m tired of living the life that my parents have made me live for years. I hate that shit.”
“That’s awesome. I’m trying to start something new, too. But seriously, love ‘em while you can, man. They won’t be around forever,” said Kurt. He grew quiet for a moment.
“Why do you say that?” Jon asked as he took a drag.
“Actually... My parents died in a house fire a couple weeks ago,” answered Kurt.
“Oh...” Jon responded. “That sucks, bro. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. I’m not here for sympathy. You just gotta move on,” said Kurt.
“Very true,” Jon said. “You sound like a pretty wise guy.”
Kurt laughed. “I don’t know about all that. I just do a lot of thinking.”
“Yeah, I gotcha,” Jon acknowledged. “Well, looks like we’re here, bro.” They both looked through the windshield and their mouth dropped. “Woah, what a sight.”
Kurt broke his stare and turned to Jon. “Thanks for the ride, man. You’re a pretty cool guy. Good luck with the whole ‘starting over’ thing.”
“You, too,” Jon replied as Kurt opened his door and got out of the car.
Kurt looked up at the World Trade Memorial. He felt a shiver go all the way down his back. It was crazy for him. The events of 9/11 happened over ten years ago but this spot still had a whirlwind of emotion. Everyone in the nation was affected that day. These were the thoughts that ran through Kurt’s head as he walked through the doors of the Museum.