Another busy afternoon. The room’s not exactly crowded, but there are people milling around all over the place.
A young couple pauses briefly, examining me, marveling at me. They drift away, holding hands.
An unshaven man with messy gray hair stops in front of me, holding a hat in his hands. He’s smiling, but there are tears in the corners of his eyes. A pale spot on his finger; it bore a ring once.
No afternoon is complete without a tour group, dressed in their brightest clothes. They gawk at everything around them like a writhing hydra, a few looking bored. The uninterested ones used to yawn and wander away once. Nowadays, they stand with their heads bowed, fingers tapping away in front of them. A sneaky few take pictures when nobody’s paying attention. Why they feel the need, I cannot say.
There is never a shortage of comments. Most are in awe, extolling the genius that went into my creation. Others wonder about my past, who I was before becoming immortalized by history. Critics are inescapable, scrutinizing every facet of me and finding the smallest nits to pick. As if they could improve on me themselves.
But I don’t mind any of them, the lovers or the haters. I suppose I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I cannot thank them for their compliments or offer any retorts to their barbs. Nor can I answer the one question that burns at everyone’s lips.
So I just smile. And let them wonder why.