The Echo Boy


I’m the Echo Boy on Patrick’s Street. No, not that one, I’m the one across the road, outside the old Examiner Offices. I’m the statue.

I didn’t know I was a statue for a long time, actually. I used to be over on Cook Street and one day I heard a woman tell her daughter what I was, so that’s how I found out.

You see, for a long time I thought I was a real Echo Boy. In fact I have a lot of strange memories of selling papers on cold days on Washington Street, and dodging cars near the Kinsale Roundabout, or trying to keep my papers dry in the rain outside the hospital in Wilton. But how can I have those memories, if I’m only a statue and I was only ever on Patrick’s Street and Cook Street?

But I’m not complaining, like. I have a great view here and they done up Pana very nice altogether. And there’s loads of action, especially at weekends, and nobody be’s at me nor gives me any trouble. On sunny days, there’s often a great bit of chat from the people sitting outside Le Chateau next door – tourists mostly, having a great time.

And nowadays they have these things called ‘selfies’ where people take photos of themselves using their phones and they snuggle up beside me and take selfies with me in them. I like that. I like the company, to be honest. I gets a bit lonely during the nights, they’re fierce long, and during the cold and wet Winter days when everybody is rushing past and they don’t pay me any notice at all.

Those phones are amazing yokes altogether and nowadays all the kids are rushing past tapping on them and looking at them and they don’t talk to each other any more, if you ask me. It’s all about those phones, these days.

In the afternoons I can hear the man across the road shouting Holly Bough, Echo, and that makes me feel good ‘cos he’s selling my paper, like, and people are still buying it. I dunno what’s going to happen in a world where the only place people want to be is on their phones and that’s a big worry. And because he’s selling the Holly Bough, I know it will be Christmas soon and the lights is on now too and everybody is busy.

Sometimes I get sad. Whenever I see a mother walking past, holding hands with her son, I get sad then. I can’t really feel my hands, being a statue, but one time, just one time, I’d love to hold hands with my own Mammy. I have memories of Mammies and Daddies and I’d give them some of the money I made when I’d get home after selling papers, but I don’t know if they are real. And all the boys and girls going past have names, too, but I don’t have any. I’d like a name, I don’t mind which one.

I’d love to have a real Mammy and Daddy some day and hold hands with them on Patrick’s Street, and to hear them say my name. Especially at Christmas, now that the lights are up, and everybody is happy and the boys and girls are smiling. I dream about that sometimes at night, when all the drunk people have gone home and Pana gets quiet.

And then one day, I heard two American tourists talking about me. They took some selfies and then the girl (they were young) said: “Oh my God, he looks so real.” And the boy said: “Remember when we were in Rome and when I told you about the statues by Michelangelo, and what he said about sculpture.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “That he didn’t carve the people out of the marble, but that they were always in there and he just released them from it.”

I think about that a lot.

I wonder if somebody will come along, someday, and release me from the metal I’m in.

That would be great, wouldn’t it? I’d love that.