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The Museum

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It frightened her, the audacity
he had of reaching out
and touching the painting.
The sign which said, pretentiously,
"Please do not touch the artwork"
apparently did not apply to him.


She slapped his hand away before
she realized what she was doing.
Being a grown man, he should have been
aware of this being problematic.
His fingers lingered on canvas
as he turned to her, and she stood
open-mouthed and bird-like a foot away.


"What's wrong?" he was in a state
of oblivion. She didn't make sounds,
but pointed to the sign blatantly.
His face illuminated in realization,
but he did not move his hands.


Both hands. On the canvas.
In the middle of a museum.
Absurd.


She was completely unawares
as to what she ought to do.
Did he suddenly have amnesia?
A confusion roiled in her ribcage
which rendered her nearly catatonic
so long as he gently ran his hands along
the raised lines and impressionistic
flower fields.


He seemed content, not alarmed or
criminal. It was simply the urge
to touch this body of work.
He felt it was ok, this intimacy
with a great piece of art's history.
A building block towards modernity.


He knew the sign was there,
ever-imposing its harsh law
in the rooms of white walls.
But nobody was in here,
in the far reaches
of a nearly deserted art museum.
It was raining outside
and he could hear it on the roof.


Plink plink, and it kept the
people inside their houses,
away from the paintings.


She was still standing in
utter confusion and pain
beside him.


"Please stop. Why are you touching it?
You oughtn't do that, dear."
Her voice was tremulous. Her hands moved
to catch his.


He nearly laughed.
"Why shouldn't I touch this?
It is a priceless work of art
that hasn't felt any love for years.
I feel it deserves to be touched.
It is beautiful. I want to
understand its beauty.
I want it to know it is valuable,
and that I love it dearly."


His words echoed softly against
the rain outside, and the high
white walls. He sounded
ridiculous he realized in hindsight,
but despite that, he also told the truth.


"I am in love with this painting,
and it should know."


He let his hands fall to his sides
as she looked at him with raised eyebrows
and a dour mouth.


They walked through the
rest of the halls without
further incident.



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