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She stares at you with an enigmatic smile on her face.

Her arms rest neatly below her bosom in peace.

A cry for help from the confines of glass doors

She seeks your love to take her home.

***

Bless me Mamma, I shall bring her home. To you. To us!

The words ring in your ears every morning as you set out for your job. A reminder. You remember that wet mop suspended above the floor, dripping water all around you as you stood frozen when your eyes locked with hers. That was the very first time. If not for that nudge from your co-worker, you could have lost your job. 

From then on, you spent the day, dreaming of her until nightfall when you walked into your workplace; changed into your uniform; picked that mop and bucket and walked towards her. She would be there without fail. You stole those moments from between duty to take a glance at her. You wait for that moment to strike a conversation. For the right moment. 

She does not belong here. She deserves better.

You convince yourself. You adore the adulation she receives. But you are jealous, nonetheless.

Today could be your day. You work your way closer to her; hoping to strike gold, may be touch her, up close. Oblivious of your surroundings, ignoring your bucket and mop, you step forward until …. that call from the supervisor jolts your back. You bend down on your knees. Scratch a perfectly cleaned floor; what a clever coverup. 

You swiftly bring your bucket closer and begin scrubbing the floor. As if you were there to do just that. Things go back to normal. You lift your head up; wink at her. She smiles back; demurely.

Take me home, Signore. Wrap me up in your arms.

She whispered; lost when you are in your deepest dreams. You wake up with beads of sweat. Enough of waiting. You decide to walk in there. Damn the shift hours. 

You feel the blood gushing through you. The heart skipping faster than usual.

You take a moment to calm down your nerves. You are there to replace a co-worker. You work your magic. You head back in an hour, failing health. With your smock wrapped, tucked under your arms. The heat of August, you give a legitimate excuse to switch into your shorts. 

***

You sit back and breathe. Two years is a long wait. You have her besides you as the train chugged to a halt. 

You knock on the door and wait patiently. 

‘Oh…Vincent, you are home!’ You melt in the warmth of the embrace of your mother. You cannot wait to showcase your heroism.

‘Mamma, with your blessings, I got her home. To me. To us.’

Your mother looks baffled. She looks around, behind you.

‘Who did you bring, Vincet?’

‘She, who has been ours, all this while. Incarcerated in a museum in Paris. I brought Leonardo’s Monalisa home. Our Monalisa, Mamma! ‘

***

Photo by PAN XIAOZHEN on Unsplash

This work of fiction is inspired from a true incident . 

Reference: Vincenzo Peruggia – Wikipedia

     


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