“Shall I give you tour of the museum grounds?” And here was my down fall. From here on I would make a series of bad decisions. Arguably, these next few choices may be the worst choices I may have ever made. But, I was influenced by the mystery and ambiguity that came with Liam. He really did intrigue me so and he still does to this day. I just cannot explain my actions here on out with sanity for I was infatuated. It was something about him that drew me in whether it be his looks or personality. I honestly don’t think I will ever know.
“Why yes,” And this time I smiled genuinely. “Yes Liam, you may.” I tightly gripped the hand that still held mine within its grip. He responded with a quick squeeze back.
“And you name?” His calming smile penetrated the sound of the city that was still very alive. The sound of the cars and the lights of the shops hummed in the background.
“Oh, you really won’t like my name.” To be honest, I have always hated my name. It just sounds too formal for its own good and old fashioned in this new generation. But my parents could not decide on a name for me and were stuck in between two options. They were running out of time and then decided to combine the two potential child names together.
“But I would really like to know.” I kicked around a small stone in the dirt. Oh how I wish I could go and change my name but I never thought of another name that would suit me and one my parents would agree with.
“Okay, okay.” My voice suddenly decreased in volume. It sounded like he had a genuine interest in my name. “My name is Saralynn.” Liam remained silent. I never figured out if it was a good quiet or a bad quiet. Awkwardly, I tried to release the tension. “That’s Saralynn with two ‘n’s mind you.”
His voice cut through the silence as he spoke. “I have never heard such a beautiful name in my life.” A wave of relief surged throughout my body.
“It’s such a long name,” His eyes glistened. “How about I shorten your name down to Lynn. Do you mind?” I liked that nickname. I could have been the name that fit me the best. Or it could have been another lie.
“No, I don’t mind at all.” The night had almost taken over the sun’s domain forcing it to retreat to the other side of the French horizon. The moon never did show up that night, only to be replaced by the illuminated store fronts and cars.
As we walked hand in hand down the dirt road, it all seemed natural. It was a truly fake natural. I blindly followed him to the point where the sounds of the Parisian night life started to dwindle and eventually disappear. I had only met this man yet I felt like I could follow him the ends of the Earth.
The city lights soon disappeared along with the sounds of the night. Now I regained my senses and we were standing behind a building. My hand was buffeted by the wind as I noticed that the hand that once held it had reached in to his pocket searching for something. Of the pants pocket came a small simplistic key. This key matched the lock on the door that lie in front of the two of us. The door opened to a room I had remembered seeing in magazines and in books in the past.
This room was room full of paintings. The name of the room escapes me at the moment but I do remember that all of the paintings had something in common. All of the paintings in this hall and in the hall next to it were all painted in Sweden.
“Jag gillar män.” While I was sure that we were the only people in the hall however there were voices all around us. If I were to close my eyes it sounded like the hall was filled with people talking and having the times of their lives. The problem is, all of these voices spoke Swedish. I never acquired the skill to speak or even comprehend the language so I was in the blue. Liam turned to face me.
“You can hear them can’t you?” A smug grin same across his face as he spoke with surprise in his voice. It would only be in the next few years I would understand that this was not a happy smile. This was a smile of contempt. It was a snicker to be precise.
“Yes, I hear them.” I was a bit wary and suspicious. “But whose voices are they?” The voices became louder with each word I carefully articulated.
“Those voices,” Liam out reached his arm to display all the wonderful paintings. I had only been focusing on the voices and never directed my attention to the famous works of art I was in the presence of. “They are the voices of the people trapped eternally inside of the prisons we know as paintings only wishing to leave yet enjoying their eternal stay inside of their personal cell.”
The heels on my boots click against the ground with every step I take toward the center of the hall. Looking all around me, the paintings come to life. Some dance and sing while others cried and died. I felt for these characters inside of their cages. Some of the paintings tried to communicate with me to no avail.
Liam latched on to my hand and started running throughout the empty museum. With a left here and a right there we eventually slowed down to a brisk walk. He did not bother to stop to look at the marvelous paintings and artifacts that passed us by in our sprint to the finish. The swarm of color blurred before my eyes as I was in a stupor just being lead by Liam’s hand. This was a case of pure teenage infatuation. No matter how long he lived he never truly liked me back. He only kept up the lies. The lies made me happy at the time and fulfilled my childhood wishes in an empty sort of way. He left a gaping void in my heart that could never be repaired and caused me to follow him seeking a way to fix it.
Our foot steps were out of time and the sound of our steps were different. They echoed against the interior walls of the numerous rooms and halls we passed through. I thought of nothing. We ran up a stair well to the next floor. There was nothing I could think of. He was a drug to me. It was like he had put me under his spell and whisked me away to a land of fairy tales and dreams. His world had no use for reason and therefore he did not use it. Sanity was nonexistent and was an abstract idea to him. I had been sucked in to a world that goes against all of my ideals both in the past and in the present. Perhaps a bit of adventure is okay every now and again.
“Can you guess where we’re going right now?” Liam did not pant a single bit nor did he show any sign of exhaustion from all of the exercise we have been doing, running around the inside of the Louvre. I thought hard. Where would I go if I were in the Louvre all by myself excluding Liam? At the time I thought this would be a once in a lifetime chance. I would have many encounters with this painting later on.
“Liam, are you taking me to see the Mona Lisa?” I was starting to get exhausted and it could be heard in my voice clearly. I was slightly out of shape back then as I was slowly, but surely, dragging behind Liam and holding him back. I had no idea how much running away I would be doing in the next few years. Liam did not notice (or maybe did not want to notice) my exhaustion and continued to drag me along as he ran towards the Mona Lisa.
The languages the painting spoke were changing from room to room. Occasionally I heard English and I responded to those paintings if they spoke out to me. I knew I was getting closer to the Mona Lisa, the sacred painting, as French started to become the more predominant language of the paintings and sculptures. I tried to speak what little I knew of the romantic language with a bonjour or two being thrown out from time to time at the paintings. Napoleon tipped his hat at me but turned around immediately when he saw Liam’s face. I disregarded it at that moment in my past thinking that he was proving his tastes in the opposite gender. I don’t want to say anything bad about Napoleon here. We became good friends through a different painting. It’s just that one particular painting never moved in front of me ever again. Was it me or Liam that caused his to do that? I may never know the answer.
Sometimes I think back to that one painting and wonder what would have happened if Liam was not there, making me run by Napoleon so fast. Could I have properly met the general? Maybe he could have told me about why the other paintings did not like Liam. Was it because he was British? Oh, so many questions that may never have a reply and all because of Liam and his haste to get me to the Mona Lisa for some reason. To this day I still do not know why he was in such a hurry. I think he may have had another secret he did not tell me.
And so I ran. I ran past the paintings in the dimly lit corridors that passed by but then we stopped. It was not that impressive to be honest. I did not see any appeal this painting ever had. Liam seemed to be sucked to to the world of the painting. He was intrigued by the ... thing. I did know a thing or two about the Mona Lisa. The painting was commissioned by the husband of Lisa Gherandini to paint his wife. As I recalled small historical tidbits here and there she spoke.
"Hello Liam," Her voice was quiet and muffled by the thick glass that lie in front of her face. She spoke good English with a slight Italian accent. Yes, the Mona Lisa spoke.
"Good day Lisa," Liam treated her cordially. Whether this was genuine or just out of respect, I do not know. "Her name is Saralynn." He used his hand to motion over towards me. I stepped closer to inspect the world famous relic. I was skeptical of this encounter. How could his painting possibly be alive? I assumed that there was not a computer screen of some sort behind the glass because the brush marks on the original canvas moved with the subject of the work of art.
"If the Swedish paintings spoke Swedish, how and why can you speak English?" I immediately started questioning her. I was curious to know more. I became determined to find a fault in this situation. How I wished I debunked this event however, I could never find a way to debunk it myself. To this day I continue my search for a reasonable solution to my encounter with the Mona Lisa and all the other paintings I would encounter later on in my spare time. Sometimes I believe I should just give up.
“Oh, that's an easy question,” The Mona Lisa turned to face me. “It’s because-” And she stopped mid sentence. I looked around to see what the matter was for it suddenly become quiet, too quiet. I tuned to face Liam and he turned to face me.