Today, I fell in love with you

“Claire de Lune” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, dated 1886

You — that will be auctioned off two days from now. By the time this sees print you will have been sold — very easily at that, I surmise — to someone who I hope (more like know) will love you as much as I do. Maybe for him/her, as it was for me today, it will also be nothing less than love at first sight.

You are dreamy, done in muted shades of browns and beiges, misty green and gray, soft blues, pale gold, hints at the faintest shade of peach/pink evident only on the bare arms and neck of the lovely lady. Oh, the lady. She is seated gracefully, regal yet relaxed, assured — of what, I cannot say for sure. She sits there, knowing she is beautiful. She does not try to be someone she is not; she just is. I wish the artist were right beside me so I could ask him: Who is she? Who is she to you? The lady is painted lovingly, almost reverently, and she sits there stoically, looking far away, as if in two places at one time. She sits on the grass, in her soft frock, looking every bit a goddess as her thoughts drift far, far away. The more I look, the more I see. And love. Oh, how easy it is to only have eyes for you.

I love that you are hazy, misty, as if washed in time. I especially love, too, that you are mysterious, that you look romantic, carefully desired. “Claire de Lune,” you are aptly titled, painted by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, dated 1886. You seem to me almost as old as time. And just as lovely, too.

I know not exactly what draws me to you. But I am. I circle the gallery, going from one painting to the next; there are three that have made my heart skip a beat, and you are one of them. In the span of an hour, in that square space, I just keep coming back to you. Like a song that stays on my lips as I hum it endlessly, the image of you stays softly, gently, with me.

There are paintings that you buy and keep, because you just want them to appreciate in value, as time goes by. And then there are those that speak to you, those that urge you to stop and stare, for a moment, or many moments even, just because it feels right for the heart. Yes, you fall easily within the latter category; you are one of those that must stay on the wall. If I had you on a wall in our house you would make me smile, every day, as I sit still and allow my mind to drift where it may. Even if it is just during that little pocket of time when I take my coffee or milk tea.

What could it be about you? A friend walks in the gallery and together we go through a few paintings until, expectedly, we find ourselves right in front of you. We stop and stare, not saying a word. Pepito breaks the silence by sharing the lady’s name — Maria Yrritia. Isn’t that lovely? The name to go with a destiny: that of being immortalized in not just one, but many paintings. Maria Yrritia: Hidalgo’s muse for all of 30 years or so. I am further told that Yrritia brought a whole lot of Hidalgo’s paintings of her (it is a series, apparently, as she embarked on a journey back to Europe, onboard a ship). But just like the best of movies, a tragic twist: the ship sinks to the bottom of some turbulent sea, bringing with it beautiful Yrritia and her lovely treasures. Many more secrets and untold stories, forever buried under the sea. That does make me sad, for a bit. But it does not make the story of you any less beautiful. In fact it gives you the same mystique that is afforded only to unicorns and mythological princesses. And the fact that you are one of those that was spared the fate that befell the others in the series makes you all the more precious. And real.

It has been wonderful, soaking in your story this afternoon, sleepless as I am from the night before, and hungry as I am in the here and now. You’ve cast a spell; I totally forgot about lunch. I hold my husband’s hand as we walk out to buy some milkshakes almost the same color as your dress. The sweet drink caps what would have been just a random afternoon, now made remarkable by the fact that I met you. I fork through my salad during dinner, as I tell my mom about you — she just nods and obliges me with “ooh”s and “aah”s. I think she has to meet you to know exactly what I mean. I so wish I could take you home, I really want to bring you home.

By way of farewell, let me just say that even though I may not be your owner in the here and now, as I sip my malted chocolate drink I wish, with every bit of faith and happy in me, that one day, when the time is right, you — “Claire de Lune” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, dated 1886 — in all your soft and glorious beauty, will find its way to me. Know that you are the most beautiful 128-year-old I have ever met. I shall count the days until we see each other again.

(as published )

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