There she sat, ever watchful over the gardens. The birds came to her, almost weightless on her shoulders, and sang to her. Squirrels and rabbits and the occasional tabby played at her feet. Children stared at her, wondering if she might move.

Muse.

That’s what they called her, though she didn’t know why. She wasn’t even sure what it meant.

Her dress did not sway in the breeze. Her hair stayed neat and tidy. Never was she cold nor was she ever hungry. But she always seemed so sad.

Her arm outstretched, reaching for something in the distance; she couldn’t quite remember what is was, though, it had been so long.

Muse.

She felt a longing; and melancholy wave crashed over her like the many thunderstorms that ravaged the gardens. Her roses had suffered terribly this year.

This year.
What year was it?
How long had she been frozen in time and hidden away from the world?

She looked out over the garden, her garden. Were the others like her? Did they wince at winter’s sting or yearn for shelter from summer’s heat? Were they stuck, just as she was?

Oh, yes, spring and fall were lovely. There were so many beautiful flowers and animals scurrying about.
And visitors! Yes, so many wonderful people to tell her how beautiful she is and how lovely the gardens are.

She missed the warmth of a caress on her cheek and the sweetness of a kiss. She missed the taste of berries and wine. There were so many things that she missed.

Muse.

On the lips of a stranger that she could not see, she heard the words, “She is Erato. She is a muse.”
She felt it. Something – a spark, a warmth; something,
She focused on the word, straining to remember something that seemed just out of reach.

~~~~~~

“Mommy, why is that lady crying?”
“Honey, that’s not a lady; that’s a statue.”
“But Mommy, look!”
“Sweetie, it’s time to go.”

~~~~~~

“My Muse.” He whispered to her. “MY Muse.”
And he touched her face, as if wiping a tear from her cheek. His hand felt warm and soft.

They could feel the stone fall away. He recoiled, amazed at what he saw before him: Porcelain skin where his fingers had been. He reached again and brushed the side of her neck. Again, the stone wiped away, as dirt in the rain. He held her hand to find that she could hold his in return.

“You there! Don’t touch the statues!”

When he turned back to meet her gaze, he found only the statue, streaks running down her face, and rain gently falling down around them.

 

Statue

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