I saw a girl press her cheek into the moldy stone column. Her arms gripped the sides in a hug. Her eyes were closed and she smiled.
I wanted to take a picture of her but then her friend arrived, a girl about her age. They were both older teens. They were American, with spots on their foreheads and chins, hair streaked with pink and blue, pale skin, and wide eyes. They giggled as the first girl, a blonde in a pink jumper kept hugging the column and hamming it up for her friend who took pictures.
I remember when I first came to this archway and gazed at the ceiling. It spoke to me of its history, the ghosts, the betrayals and intrigue. There were murders, battles, there were demons over the centuries that made the archway a bit depressed and lonely despite the visitors of tourists staring at pamphlets and stuff white haired scholars.
I took my first real love here, to this archway and he kissed me in front of everyone and I leaned in the stones and people stared at us just as I stared at these girls. I often wished I hadn't taken him here because my return always was painful after he left, and I began to avoid it as a result and began to feel as if I were abandoning a creepy old friend I promised I'd never leave.
The girls took selfies now, shoulder to shoulder and holding the camera up an arm length away. They laughed and looked over the pictures on the screen.
They began talking about what I thought at first were friends of theirs but it turned out they were characters from some movie or book they liked.
I do not come as much to this archway to remember my love. But it isn't lonely anymore. The story in the movie or book they all love features this archway, and the young can be seen daily on their pilgrimage here. The older ones and the educated scoff at these children, but I rather like it.
This haunted old archway likes it as well too, I think. Let the kids have their fun.