Year after year she looks with serene beauty toward the horizon of eternity. She has been doing this for a while, long before the museum acquired her. In fact she has been facing oblivion peeking out from under that charming hat since 1782. She has hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny hairline cracks. But you can only see them when you are inches from her and they make her all the more beautiful. She has been spellbinding men for two hundred and thirty two years.
But there is one man, Nilson Quigley to whom she spoke to as to no other. He first saw her on a school field trip in the winter of 1934. That day when his eyes first met hers he recognized her. The effect of her gaze instantly rooted him to the foundations of the earth. His teacher had to drag him away scolding him to stay with the group. As he looked back over his shoulder with tears staining his school blazer he knew he would never marry, have children or love anyone but her.
He has been coming back to see her ever since the day he fell in love with her in 1934. He always goes on Sunday and sits on the bench across from her. With twenty feet of highly polished hard oak floor between them, he would sit and think and try to remember. She had that effect on him. She whispered from behind the veil of receding years of time past, of meeting, parting and many goodbyes. None of them were every a happy farewell. Now at 91 Nilson could feel another goodbye coming for him.
“Who is she?” The young voice came from behind him. With out turning around he answered.