Author: Sunflowers956 PM
Oneshot. Thoughts on a bench overseas.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 189 - Published: 11-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3075467
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She collapsed onto one of the benches in the Uffizi gallery and sighed. A small breeze blew down the alley and cooled the sweat on the back of her neck.
It was a hot day, almost oppressively so, but not unbearable. If one didn't mind the constant dampness of sweat on their back, the sunshine was quite pretty. Its rays crept past the columns that stood around her and wove through the shadows. The line it drew on the sidewalk seemed to create two worlds within the small gallery.
That very sidewalk, however, was not so kind. The old cobblestones and stone streets were rough, even to a familiar pair of sandals, and she stretched her sore feet out in front of her.
Taking a long drink from her water bottle, she leaned further back into the shade. Tourists and locals milled about in the center of the gallery. Some had come from the Piazza della Signoria, their cameras still swinging around their necks. There were probably photos of the David replica on the cameras. She wondered how many tourists knew they had not photographed the real David. Most other visitors were on their way to the Palazzo Vecchio to admire the long string of beautiful jewelry shops.
A handful of people walked between the street painters set up in the middle of the gallery. Day after day, these artists sold the artistic atmosphere around them to passersby. The usual subjects of their colorful pieces were the city itself or its famous hallmarks.
She watched the crowds for a few minutes, more intrigued by them at the moment than by the Botticellis and Michelangelos hanging nearby. Admittedly, she envied the pairs and the groups. They all had someone to share the experience with. Didn't most people dream of traveling the world and seeing some of the most beautiful art and history in existence? It felt a little hollow, surreal, to stand in front of pieces that had existed for hundreds of years and find yourself standing alone.
It was a worse feeling to realize the painting would likely still be there after you had left both the museum and the world.
She shook her head and settled her glazed eyes back onto the crowds. It was much more comfortable to watch them and their temporal existence. Art wasn't such a mystery, at least not the famous pieces, but people always would be. Who were these people and what had brought them here? What made them sad and happy and excited? Where did they come from and why had the universe seen fit to bring them across her path this afternoon?
Despite the ever-present sense of loneliness from being in a foreign country alone, there was also a certain liberating anonymity. Just as she knew none of these people, none of them knew her. To them, she could be anyone she or they imagined. An entirely different person than who she really was, if she wanted. She could probably even convince someone that she wasn't what she looked like - tell them that her natural hair color was actually dyed and that her tan was a recent development. She could give a different name, profess herself a virgin or a dominatrix, or claim to be from somewhere else than she really was.
What an amazing, freeing thought.
A waving hand caught her eye and pulled her out of her reveries. One of the painters stood a few yards in front of her, smiling at her from the sunlight. The man waved again and then pushed the corners of his mouth up with his fingers, telling her to smile. His shaggy, little dog continued to doze on the small pillow set up next to the easel, despite his master's antics.
Remaining straight-faced, she picked up her bag and started out of the gallery while the painter made mime-like expressions of sadness and despair at her departing back.