Jessica Dunne, A Letter Home

Bailieborough Community School

72 Complex,

5th avenue,


New York.

Dear Mam,

Greetings from New York! This bustling concrete maze is so vast, still concealing so many wonders I am yet to discover. The place is all sharp angles, metal, and glass. I can feel the calculation and precision oozing from the bricks. You can still find little nuggets of character, wedged in between one skyscraper and another. Elegant Georgian structures that stood the test of time and evolution. I looked out of my window yesterday, to see the sun setting in the sky. I was enraptured by the gleaming glass and the glistening of the Hudson River in the distance.  Watching the sunset, it reminded me of an experience we shared over fifteen years ago. I was only five years old but I remember it so vividly. It was our holiday to Disney Land, Florida. I remember nothing of the duty-free, the Aer Lingus Customs or the plane journey over. The rest is a hazy dream of Mickey Mouse and running around in bright pink sandals with Cathal. However, one memory sticks out. You asked me one evening if I would join you in watching the sunset and I accompanied you with zealous. My hand clutched in yours, you led me out to the seaside of St Petes Beach.

The grains of sand were silky and cool under our feet and the sun had already begun to sink in the sky. The scent of tire on gravel, petrol and the salty sea wafted through the air. The steadfast and sure lapping of the waves managed to drown out the chorus of the city. Our bodies were sticky with sun cream and sweat. All the beach beds had been packed up, leaving us the only stragglers left. I’ll admit, my little mind was already disinterested. I didn’t understand how captivating the experience would be.

There we stood; eyes intently trained on the sky. The horizon had assumed a golden hue, the yellow sun weaker, yet splendid, nonetheless. I found myself transfixed. A gentle breeze, compliments of the sea, weaved through our hair. As if pricked by a needle, blood red leaked into the horizon. My eyes traveled up, taking in the pale-yellow transition from the blue sky to the dazzling dusk. The ocean greeted it with a dark blue line, dissolving into an intense turquoise mottled with gold, orange, and yellow hues. It reminded me of the pretty trinkets being sold nearby, decorated with broken stained glass.   New York contrasts Florida in so many ways. While Florida was all exotic reds and orange, New York is all office greys and silver. People always marveled at the cubic skyline carved out by all the towers. No one looks beyond, at how it fizzles out and melts into the sea. It was like the edge of the world, merging with the nothingness of the universe. The building turned to sand, and roads merged with rivers.

Lots of love,