Learning Lines

Investigating New Territory Through The World of Writing

Lift

The woman approached doors that must have been twelve feet high.  Doors, wrapped in leather (probably Naugahyde) with a golden brad pin border,  squeaked between her thumb and forefinger.  Light reflected on the marble within.  Born into the cylindrical space, rays of sunshine held a variety of lush green plants surrounding a statue under the center of the dome.  She watched the leaves, envious of their confident pose, full of robust sugar.  The hallow sound of her foot steps approached the center.  She heard her stomach growl.  It had been hours since breakfast.  What was it she ate with her coffee?

Slap, slap, slap.  She looked up to see a child, straight black hair on a round head, hopscotch across the marble squares in a pink dress.  The young girl’s mother, rested on a stone bench nearby, sun on her face, eyes closed, soft smile on her lips.  The dark brown eyes of the child looked up, making a connection with the woman.  A bright smile flashed across the little face.  The woman felt the heat of the sun from above cover her cheek, a sharp contrast to the cold from the shadowed marble along the edge of the rotunda.

The woman wandered through the corridors.  Cream wainscoting, pale blue backdrop wrapped the walls of masterpieces.  The collection was just ahead.  She could feel its energy creep like fog on the floor, around the columns, above her head.  Again her stomach growled, breaking the silence.  She looked up, embarrassed.  A security guard nodded at her, shifting his weight from one foot to another, his keys rang together on his belt.  The first room was just ahead.

It had been years since she had been in a gallery.  The memory of the Expressionist’s exhibit from Post Word War II had long since disappeared.  The haunting images confiscated by Hitler, seemed from another lifetime.  Angry red and bold blue of Max Ernst and Emile Nolde filled a space in her heart she didn’t know she even had.  She was just a child herself then.  And now, she was a woman searching for the fullness the art provided.

She was overwhelmed by the richness surrounding her.  She closed her eyes, afraid of the power it yielded.  Then slowly, composing herself, preparing herself for the experience, her lids lifted to gaze upon the couple.  Romeo and Juliet.  It was Picasso’s The Lovers.  But, Romeo and Juliet is what she saw.  Their forever embrace framed perfectly, for eternity by the master.  Did Picasso read Shakespeare? She should read Romeo and Juliet again.  Even though it made her sad, she realized she didn’t have to come all the way across the country to have it. Her head bowed in recognition of its greatness.  The corners of her mouth turned up only slightly.  She moved on.

After keeping her distance from several others she stopped, letting the presence of an empty eyed- woman take her breath away.  The long face, the blue scarf, the red collar, the child in her arms filled her with awe. She sat and stared at it, trying to memorize it’s powerful hold.  The hunger built inside her until she felt as though she would explode with joy.  She sighed, painfully taking her gaze away from the brilliance to the cold marble floor.

The white light from the outside permeated through windows from above in the final room.  The heat, like a hat on her brown hair warmed her.  Scanning the walls, she searched for Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed.  Suddenly, in the center of the room it presented itself gloriously.  The woman inhaled it’s tenderness.  The mother’s arm, protectively draped around the toddler to prevent her from falling out of the bed, hung loosely. Content with her morning snack, the babe rubbed her toes together happily, while the mother, gazed sleepily, filled with the wonder of her creation.

She could see no more for now.  The woman was getting hot.  She hurried to the closest exit.  As she opened the heavy metal door, the pressure from the wind pulled the door making it difficult for her to get out.  As she made her way along the path, a big gust swept up the back of her knees, wrapping her dress around her thighs.  It’s power took her by surprise, making her uneasy on her feet.  Losing her balance for a second the woman was lifted.  A child-like squeal escaped her throat, before she could regain her composure.  A man looked up as the clouds suddenly crossed in front of the sun.  The woman didn’t notice and kept walking.

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2010 by in Short Story.
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