This museum has seen a lot of strangers, and daily comes across some familiar faces. The walls have noticed anticipation and even fear; they listen closely for all the secrets that visitors bear. The ceiling has witnessed laughter as it echoes off its corners and has seen tragedy between the tourists. The people who arrive are sometimes lonely and sometimes accompanied by a group. Some seek inspiration, and others seek themselves. There are ones who roam these art-covered walls only to prove that they have been here, ones who forget what mysteries lie hidden within the lively sculptures, ones who interpret emotions hidden within the painted-beauties different than others.
And then there are the ones who wound up here completely confused; the ones who look taken aback when they enter through the great wooden doors. And today all the faces who stepped inside seemed intrigued by the beauty of art, all except for two. The one entered through this door and the other through that, he entered a little quarter to and she on the dot. They both entered with different emotions hidden within. They weren’t a couple perhaps, but they certainly knew each other. The two of them seem to have entered for a reason that is unknown to them. They just looked like something was hurtling them towards this destination and instead of fighting the current they were in they swam with it, and this is where the wave crashed them into: into the Vatican museum within Vatican City.
She’s staring into the eyes of a painting, trying to feel the emotions radiating from it. He is walking down the hall- completely unaware of everything around him. The air inside is stiff and when you open up your mouth you can almost taste the dust floating in the air. Both of them are so focused on their thoughts that they seem completely unaware of what is happening around them. She is standing next to an actual artist who is collecting inspiration for his next artwork and on her other side there is an old man, crying, and softly talking to himself in a foreign language. The boy is currently walking past a man that calls this place his sanctuary. But none of this matters to either of them.
She jerked her head away from the eyes of a painted man He stopped staring at his feet as he jolted his head up just in time to see as her hair falls around her face. Just in time to notice the expression of composed emotion until it transformed into a look he knew all too well. Then there was a moment of thunder within both of them- at the same time! As if they are in sync and every single emotion within the one connected with the other. Her face, now carved with longing, resembled the sadness etched upon his. He almost instantly found himself running towards her at the exact moment that she was hurtling towards him. And they wrapped their arms around each other, an embrace filled with not only love but one could say that love was the main element. They stood there- for numerous minutes until quietly they let go of one another and start walking side by side down the hall in absolute silence. It was silent until they reached the middle of the museum and he turned to her as he finally found his voice:
“I love you,” he whispered soft and reassuringly as if he has been practicing this exact line in the mirror for months on end. His hollow cheek bones accompanied by a wide smile, with startling white teeth. He has a way of lighting up his eyes when the room was dark- as if an invisible flame was burning inside of him and you could only see it through the hollowness of his eyes. This boy is broken, and she knows that. Maybe that is one of the main reasons as to why she fell in love with him: because of his cuts, his heartbreak, and his everlasting melancholic thoughts.
She offered him a shy smile now as she looked into his flaming eyes. The night was like a shiver but instead she felt sweat, as if the fire beneath him burnt into her skin. She knows she loves him; she has known it from the beginning and this was what she expected to happen. Her eyes flicked over to his. She gazed into the emptiness that they held. “My heart-“ she gasped. “My heart aches.” She said out of breath; her sentence was more than a thousand words longer, but those three words were all that she could manage to say. It was all that her mouth allowed her to shape. As those three words creep into his world his eyes of hollowness turned into cold stone as if the fire has burned out- and all that was left was the ashes of what once was.
They are standing under a candle lit chandelier, in the middle of the art museum. The halls are filled with strangers, people who appreciate and people who don’t. But the strangers did not matter. Not now. “Do you want to dance Miss Winslow?” he asked with an expression still as hard as stone. Before she could reply his unusual question he took her hand within his, placed her other hand upon his shoulder and gently embraced her middle. They started swaying back and forth while he hummed to an unknown slow paced melody. “I know your heart aches,” he interrupted his humming tune. “We ache the same.” She simply replied. Their sentences just hung around in the air, like a sweet scent that never fades away. Except this scent was so sweet that it caused a bitter headache.
To onlookers they seemed strange; they looked so lost in each other’s arms that it almost looked as if they were happily-in-love. Instead, they were the bittersweet couple who loved each other but loved a little too much. The chandelier cast their dancing shadow across the floor and as they danced the passer-by’s tiptoed passed them, scared to wake them out of their romantic atmosphere. But what the strangers did not know is that this is not a romanticized moment, but a miserable one.
She elevated herself onto her toes, as she was taught while in ballet school as a little girl, and then she raised her head towards his to finally kiss his thin lips, just as the ocean inside of her kissed the shore hidden within him goodbye. “We love the same.” He replied the look in her eyes and then her expression turned to ashes as his did before they started dancing underneath the candle light of this beautiful place. He let go of her middle and curtseyed towards her suggesting just how much he appreciated this dance. She turned away from him, her brown eyes set on the wooden doors arched heavily down the corridor. It almost looks as if the burden of this immense art-prison fell only on the hinges of that door. And he stood there; with his head bent and eyes closed. He was left alone in the round-shaped dome with art on the ceiling and painted pictures running all around the walls. He didn’t dare watch her leave; he tried it before, and all that caused him was a picture of a lost girl instead of the woman she truly was, a woman that knew her way around life.
This was the end he knew. She absolutely knew it too.
They’ve said goodbye a thousand times but never has it ever felt this real.
One morning in a stationery shop a few days before school was about to start for the year he saw a brown-haired girl squiggling on notebooks with different colored pens and instantly he knew it was her. He knew it by the way her one leg was slightly in front of the other and how her shoulders were slightly slumped- he’d grown to know her. And as he neared her he tried to catch a glimpse of what she’s writing and with luck on his side, he was able to read the first line ’The Ocean. That’s what you are!’ written in a very uneven light blue writing. As if she noticed his presence she turned around and smiled at him. “Just the person I was thinking of.” She simply said and without hesitation read to him what she wrote in a steady and calm voice:
“The Ocean. That’s what you are!
You reach out, touch the shores of my heart and then pull in on yourself in order to disappear again.
And even though I know you’ll always return, I’m still left broken until the moment you say hello in order to say goodbye again.”
And these are the words that haunted his memories now. Whenever he let her go, they drifted through his mind reminding him that they will meet again. They have been done with school for over a few years now! They were supposed to have started at their happy endings with someone who is committed to the relationship, someone who would make them want to stay no matter how badly they wanted to run. But that never happened; instead, both of them run away and into one another again.
She left the museum with tear tracks down her cheeks and an unfortunate feeling in her heart. She didn’t turn around to get a glimpse of the goodbye; she simply wanted to leave without truly believing that they are, once again, saying farewell to one another. The moment she reached the door she dragged her feet away from this heart-aching place. As she is walking through the tree-lined streets she could almost hear a whisper within the rustling leaves. As if they are busy whispering secrets into her ears, but secrets she can’t exactly decipher. She’s wandering through the street and only now does she realize that she has been walking in circles for this is the third time she has passed the museum’s entrance: the one thing she was trying to get away from. That was the negative side of wandering around in city’s you barely knew.
“Boy, I think you need to go after her-" an old voice awoke him from his school memories. He opened his ash-grey eyes to stare into an old woman’s colorless soul. “She was sobbing every step of the way. I’m surprised you didn’t even hear her.” She said with a low voice as if she’s afraid of being overheard. The walls leaned in a little bit closer so that they could listen to their conversation. Yes, there have been break-ups and fights and even people getting back together but never before was there such a stench of melancholy floating in the air. “I heard her every step of the way.” He replied looking past the woman at the door whose access seemed forcefully shut against himself and her. “Then child if you heard every step why haven’t you gone your separate way, it’s been more than half of an hour that you’ve been standing there, with your head bent and eyes shut.” The old woman looked at him with an inspecting eye. “just turn around and walk away then.” She said after an awkward silence when she realized he wasn’t going to reply her question. “I’m walking away already.” He replied. “But you’re standing still.” She said looking as confused as an old lady possibly could.
“By standing still I’m allowing her a life without me, because whenever I walk, I walk towards her.” He replied and then turned away from the old lady and the path that led to her. He took a different hall to a different exit to start his life, again.
Until they meet again…