Sarcophagus of Etruscan couple c. 510 BC, Louvre, Room 18
Last night, Jon and I decided that we want to celebrate the eighth anniversary of our first meeting. When I rummaged through my old journals to fix the exact date (January 29, 2000.), I found this entry.
"Tuesday, February 15, 2000
Jon invited me to the art museum on Thursday at 10:00 AM.
In Paris, I saw a sarcophagus of a married couple. I remembered it from my high school Latin textbook. The husband and the wife were laying side-by-side with their legs jutting out at a 90 degree angle from their side. Yet their smiles were sweet and the husband's arm was resting so comfortably around the wife's shoulders. I wanted to slip under his arm and feel it myself."
I have an odd habit of walking behind famous statues to observe them from the rear & the side. I like to look at work from different vantage points from the traditional frontal view shown in my Art 100 class.
I stared at a photo of the front of this sarcophagus for my entire junior year of high school Latin. When I ran into it at the Louvre, during my first & only trip to Paris in January 2000, I spent a long time starting at the back of it. I noticed the gentle tension in the husband's arm, how he rested the whole weight of his arm on his wife's shoulders, so certain, so firm, and so "comfortable."
I had this urge to climb under that arm to feel it's reassuring weight on my own shoulders. "Please let me have a love like that someday" I whispered.
Three weeks later my husband saw me at a bar playing darts with my best friend and four of her brothers. I was supposed to be working on a complicated law paper that night, so finding a mate was the furthest thing from my mind.
I've promised Jon that someday, I'll take him to Paris. (He's never been.) We'll track down this statute and share a kiss in front of it. I don't know if we'll ever actually make it to Paris. (It's hard to save money with all the little Benjamins that keep arriving). That's alright. We live the reality of this statute every day.
(P.S. My High School Latin teacher was a Catholic priest, an extremely unusual occurrence in a public school located in the middle of the Bible Belt. I wonder how many of us Protestants found ourselves drawn to the true faith as a result of Father Hogan's prayers.)