Harriet was a classmate—second-year art history. We met, by chance, outside the Uffizzi. It seemed natural that we should team up. She was doing her masters now. I’d drifted from theory to practice, studying painting.
In Paris we found a hostel not too much of a hike from the Louvre. Next morning we were waiting when the gates opened.
I’d secretly been hoping to tackle the galleries on my own because, though she was good company, I found all that serious art talk off-putting.
But she wasn’t the stuffy intellectual I’d imagined. For her art was fun. She liked to emulate what she was seeing. Soon we were acting out The Oath of the Horatii. Harriet did her best with the Venus De Milo—it wasn’t bad either. And her dour Mona Lisa was a cracker. Our Raft of the Medusa had us in fits of laughter that a stern reproach only compounded.
They kicked us out at closing time. ”Where will we go tomorrow?’ I asked.
She didn’t hesitate. ‘The Rodin Museum.’
‘Yeah, great,’ I said. ‘We can do the Thinker.’
‘You can do the Thinker, if you want, ‘ she said. ‘But we can do the Kiss.’