“Oh lovely girl in the background of the painting,” the statue said. “Please tell me your name so that I can write odes to your lovely eyes.”
The row of girls in the background of the painting looked at each other. An older man, sitting on a park bench near the front of the painting frowned. “Which girl? Don’t you see how many there are?”
The statue looked confused. “The loveliest one, of course. The angel with the twinkling eyes and the mysterious smile.”
The old man looked over at the girls. “Nope, I still have no idea.”
The statue frowned. “I fear that your advanced age has affected your vision. My angel outshines the others like the sun outshines the stars.”
The old man rolled his eyes. “I may be old, but at least I know how to get dressed in the morning.”
“You have rocks for ears,” the old man said. “I’m telling you that you forgot to wear trousers.” The girls in the background giggled.
“My ears are the finest marble,” the statue said. “And I’m not meant to wear trousers.”
“Nonsense,” the old man said. “If you are old enough to go courting, you are old enough to be able to dress yourself.”
“And what would I wear?” the statue asked. “There is nothing here for me but the base I stand on.”
“They have all sorts of things in the gift shop,” the old man said. “Get dressed, and maybe we can talk again.”
“Oh, I see,” the statue said. “This is a quest. I will find the gift shop and win the name of my angel.”
“Yes, yes,” the old man said. “I’m sure you’re very brave.”
So the statue started out on his quest. “I should begin writing my ode now,” he said. “My love is like a lovely…Bear!” he said, as he turned the corner and almost ran into the stuffed bear lying next to the fountain in the atrium.
“Your love is a bear?” the bear growled. “There aren’t many here. What’s her name?”
“She’s not a bear,” the statue said.
“You just said that she is,” the bear said.
“I didn’t mean to say that,” the statue said.
“Then be more careful,” the bear said.
“I will,” the statue said. He looked around. “Which way is the gift shop?”
“Over there,” the bear said. “Through the door.”
“Which one?” the statue asked.
“The door to the lobby,” the bear said.
“I don’t know which one that is,” the statue said. And then he paused. “Perhaps what is obvious to one person is not obvious to another.”
“Obviously,” the bear said.
“I have learned something new. I must apologize to the old man. I didn’t realize I was being rude.” The statue paused to pull down some curtains and wrap them around himself. “That will have to do for now,” he said.
He hurried back to his pedestal. “I’m sorry I was rude before,” he said. “I now realize that I wasn’t speaking very clearly. Look, I got dressed. Please introduce me to the lovely girl holding a pitcher of water and standing in a fountain.”
The girls and old man turned to look. “The statue?” the old man asked. “The one with wings?”
“Yes,” the statue said. “My angel.”
“Oh,” the old man said. “We just call her Angel.”
“My Angel, may I write a poem to your eyes?” the statue said.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Angel said. “Of course you can.”