It was his first time in New York. He was there on business but today, he was doing a bit of sightseeing. It was a nice break from his otherwise quiet and uneventful life in Cornwall.
He sighed as he thought about his life before…yes, those soothing sounds of sunshine and long forgotten days. He chided himself for living in the past. The happiness he once enjoyed had been swallowed up in years of unimagined misery. Years he wished he could forget but couldn’t. He was still haunted by memories which clung to him like shackles he couldn’t seem to break free of.
The sky looked a bit overcast and dark clouds loomed threateningly above but a glimpse of blue and the tinge of orange lifted his spirits somewhat. In the distance, he could see the Statue of Liberty as she stood there, a symbol of freedom, inspiration and hope. Hope of a better life for the masses who immigrated to this land of opportunity.
Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi managed to incorporate a lot of symbolism in his famous work of art. The crown which she wore on her head, represented light with its spikes like sun rays extending out to the world. The tablet she held was inscribed with the date, July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals, marking America’s independence. The torch she held high above her head was a symbol of enlightenment. It lights the way to freedom illuminating the path to Liberty. To symbolize the end of slavery, Bartholdi placed a broken shackle and chains at the Statue’s foot.
He moved towards the rail, thinking perhaps he should have taken the ferry across to the island to Liberty Island but the thought of being in a large crowd deterred him. He would just have to admire her from afar–his thought was interrupted when someone walked straight into him. It was a young girl–possibly in her late teens. She looked up at him, as if about to apologize but she appeared to be at a loss for words. He was more amused than annoyed.
He couldn’t tell how long they stood there, staring at each other until, finally, she managed to mutter, “I’m so sorry. I-I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“Nor was I,” he replied. “I was too busy admiring Lady Liberty.”
“Lady Liberty is beautiful from afar, but seeing her up close and personal is breathtaking.”
“You’ve been across to the island?”
“Yes, a couple of years ago with my family.”
“Isn’t it very crowded?”
“Usually it is, but my family and I went in November because autumn and winter are the best times to visit if you want to avoid the really long lines and waiting times.”
“Perhaps, I will come again in the autumn and visit it then.”
“You’re a tourist.”
“I’m here on business from Cornwall.”
“It’s a county in England.”
“That’s where Daphne du Maurier lived. It’s believed that Menabilly, an abandoned estate which became her home was the inspiration for Manderley. Have you seen Menabilly?”
“I went by it years ago but I could barely catch a glimpse of it through the trees. Unfortunately, there’s no public access to it.”
“I’m guessing that you are fan of Daphne du Maurier?”
“I’ve only read Rebecca by her and it’s one of my favorite books.”
“I see. What is your name?”
“My name is Maxime Lambert. Is something the matter?” he asked when she gaped at him.
“Sarifina, I know that we’ve just met but I was wondering if you would join me for a cappuccino or latte at a nearby café?”
She seemed at a loss for words again but managed to vigorously nod her head.
He smiled and off they went to a nearby café where they spent hours, getting to know each other better.