As I walk up the art museum’s steps, a part of me wants to call my trip wild. Traveling over 5,000 miles just for one piece of art? But after seeing pictures of it online, I knew I had to see it in person.
Rain falls on me, so I keep my head down as I walk up to the ticket counter. “Un biglietto per favore.”
The lady behind the counter nods and types something on her computer. “Dodici euro.”
I hand her the exact change.
As soon as I get inside, I grab one of the available maps. It has been a while since I’ve read anything in Italian, but I can make out the words well. I need to go to the farthest room on the right.
I don’t stop as I pass masterpiece after masterpiece on walls crafted with the finest details. Everyone else is so absorbed with the artwork that only the security team probably realizes that I haven’t stopped to look at anything yet. A part of me wants to marvel at the classic Italian walls that no architect really designs anymore. But this painting is too important. I can look at it on the way out.
The painting in question comes into my view. A crowd has gathered around it, so I stand off to the side, getting glimpses of its use of brown and green. I slowly step my way to the center, not taking my eyes off it.
It’s true. I’m in a newly discovered five-hundred-year-old painting.
My face really hasn’t changed much over the years. My small, hooked nose stands out, of course. The green that the painter used for my eyes is a tad shade off. But the curve of my face and neck is all there. My clothes look all bulky and weird. That standing, ruffled collar… Ugh. Why did I ever think that was good fashion?
The dark background makes my terrible choice in clothing pop since my clothes had to be the only thing with much color.
An Italian woman beside me glances my way and does a double take between me and the painting. She whispers something to her friend, probably playing off our parallel as a coincidence.
My eyes finally find the plate nearby. Amore per sempre by Cristoforo.
Tears build behind my eyes, burning.
I remember Cristoforo well, even though too many years distance us now. He used to write poetry by candlelight and run across town just to show me, especially if he loved a certain turn of phrase. I had spent hours upon hours trying to get him to try some foreign foods, but he almost never gave in. He also never painted people, saying that to paint a person is to paint an entire universe. And he could never portray a universe in a painting.
But then I guess he chose me.
And that means everything.
Copyright © Robin LeeAnn