The phrase appeared all over the city, chalked on walls, on sidewalks, and even on the Brooklyn Bridge in letter nine feet high.
“I still love you.”
After a couple of weeks, the media got wind of this and being a slow week for news, they aired it.
I recall the pretty CBS blonde anchor-woman pleading with the guy who wrote it to come forward. Perhaps she thought she’d be onto a Pulitzer? Anyhow, even her soulful pleading didn't work. No one came forward.
Every day since a newly chalked phrase was spotted and broadcast.
The world's media sent their camera crews to New York. The chalked phrases became more elaborate. One summer's afternoon, a plane drew the phrase in red smoke over the Statue of Liberty. The country went nuts. New York was now the city of romance. The French were really pissed off with that.
One phrase chalked on the Empire State Building made the cover of Newsweek and the NY Times offered a reward to whoever could name either the writer or the girl it was intended for. This prompted a response from the gay community who felt maybe they should get in on a piece of the action and handwriting experts were drafted in to argue over whether the writer was male, female and whether or not he/she was gay/straight. Then the black lobby got onto it and the Puerto Ricans, everyone wanted to be the chalker. Damn, the guy was a genius! Bob Dylan wrote a song about it. Best thing he'd written in years. The consensus of opinion was that the writer was male, white and heterosexual, although I never could understand how the so called experts could work that out from the way the letters were leaning.
Rumours abounded that the writer was a teacher. It was based on the fact that they have access to chalk, but teachers aren't that clever.
What really bugged people, was how the guy could get away with it for so long without being seen. New York is full of cameras. It's like living in an Orwellian state. The only glimpse we got of the guy was a fuzzy, seventeen second black and white film taken from an all-night drugstore camera as he chalked the phrase over the door of a government building. It wasn't clear enough to identify anyone.
Then as quickly as it had started, the writings stopped. People wondered what happened. The media pontificated for a few days then turned to another story. Nothing was heard of this again until three weeks later when another message was chalked up on Trump Towers in six foot high letters.
“I don't love you anymore.”
After that there was nothing. People cried openly on the streets. Romance died and the divorce rate soared. Debates were aired on how America wasn’t macho any more. Charlton Heston really is a jerk. He thought the mystery chalk writer was undermining our society. Hell yeah, I thought to myself. As if we weren’t there already.
Hollywood got in on the act and made a film of course, but it quickly went to video. David Duchovny wasn't right as the MC. He wasn't angry enough. And it had a happy ending and true life isn’t Hollywood.
I wish I'd been that guy though. I still love you man.
About the Author
Alun Williams Writer of short flash. Published a few times, here and there. Member of critters-bar.com. Lives in North Wales
Published July 4th 2016