The secret

 

I was sending pictures to Holly and Sienna with the hilarious view of Isabell and Luna when my phone rang, displaying  the name of my boss.

– Hello?

– Hey, Mia! This is Jonathan, sorry I’m calling so late on a Saturday evening but I have exciting news for you!

– Tell me, what is it? I asked curiously.

– Well Mia, make sure you rest yourself tomorrow because starting Monday morning you’re going to work on some of your favorite pieces of art. We have just  received  a few works of art from Italy and two from Vienna, all of them needing  restoration.  So as I know  your past curatorial work in the Uffizi  Gallery plus you’re an enthusiast  of de’ Medici’s collections, I thought  you’re most suited for one of the paintings,   that would be  “Susanna and the elders” of  Rubens.

      – Wow!  and I paused for a minute…needing to actually process what I had just heard and  to catch my breath as my heart instantly raced. I had, indeed, while I was in Florence studied his works from the period he had spent in Italy mostly because his style was influenced by Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci in that period. Are you serious, Jonathan? I don’t know what to say…wow!

     – Yea, well don’t get too excited  yet, wait until we do the evaluation and remember,   you’ll have three interns with you as well as the internships start on Monday too. It will be a handful but I know you can handle it. Make me proud, Mia! I’ll wait for you Monday evening  so we can discuss about the process and evaluate it.

– Okay, great news Jonathan, you just made my weekend fantastic! See you on Monday!

– Have a great evening, Mia! I’ll see you!

My heart was close to exploding as I could feel it pounding hard in my chest. I couldn’t believe it! Susanna and the elders! Wow! Isabell  had obviously  awoken by my excitement and was staring at me quizzically.

– What is it, she asked.

– My boss just called to let me know that on Monday I’ll start to work on probably my most important project so far. I am so exited! It’s like I have been waiting for the last six years for this!

– Great then, Mia! We need to celebrate with the girls as well! Wanna still go to the movies or we can stay home, maybe order sushi and have a pajama party?

– Great idea, Isabell! I am soooo tired and my boss recommended to rest this weekend as most probably  I will work overtime for a while.

– Okay, let me call the girls then. By the way, what happened with Jacob?

– Weeeell…..we went to have lunch on his motorbike! Can you believe it?  It was amazing that he made me feel safe enough to actually go with it, even  though first time we met he asked me if I was afraid of heights?!  That was a bit erm, I paused,  unusual, I just didn’t see it coming…

But we went to Central Park and we had a fantastic time, really…I just learned a lot more about him and it felt good.  His mum is actually vet  Amanda Hamilton who we were supposed to take Luna to. He seems …that type, you know…that you would love to talk to over and over and have him hold your hand all the time.

We actually kissed in the park, it was a very intense moment, I felt my face blushing again.

– I bet it was since you kissed him on a first date! That’s a first. I am happy for you  Mia, we’ll see what Jacob is all about  in time. I hope he’s what you saw today and a lot more, so he can keep up with you. J

– Yeah, we’ll see. Now let me cuddle with this little black cutie here,  and while I was walking towards Luna she stretched herself and came to me.

Meeeeowwww!

– Sweet, sweet kitty cat, how I missed you!  I took her in my arms and kissed her on her cute little head.

– Come with me so I can change my clothes and then I’ll feed you some of that delicious food we got you today, Luna was looking up at me while Isabell was already on the phone with Holly.

I laid Luna on the bed while joyfully changing my clothes. I couldn’t help noticing how  she was licking one of her paws, relaxed and curiously throwing me short looks at the same time, kind of like checking up on  how I was doing. I just loved to observe and learn about my  new  little companion, just like she was observing me.

My thoughts were racing from the brilliant news I had just received,  the interesting lunch I had with Jacob and the fact that I had to call my aunt and let her know everything that had happened.  I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be assigned such an important work. My aunt needed to know right away even though I knew the whole conversation would last longer than an hour.

I picked up my phone and rang her:

– Hey Maggy, how are you doing?

– Hi Mia! So nice of you to call, I missed hearing your voice! I am good, here with Paula and Rachel around, we were having a cup of tea then switched to French wine and Baccarat, and guess what, I’m the bank!,  we both started laughing.

– Okay Maggy, I called to give you some amazing news. My boss just called me to let me know on Monday we expect work coming from Italy and Vienna and my designed material will be from Rubens. I am so excited for this opportunity to have in for restoration one of his works.

– Oh my god, Mia, that’s such an accomplishment, I know you have invested so much time in all deMedici’s collection and all the Renaissance artists during your years in Europe. I hope it will be just the start of your work because this is your calling, to renew, restore and reestablish.

– Thank you, Maggy, I hope it’s just the beginning, yes! I am up for it and can’t wait until Monday morning. Thing is that it’ll be a double first time for me as I have been designated three interns as well for the whole process. So, it’ll be something!

– Yes darling, indeed! What a wonderful day, today, Mia! You have given me an amazing surprise! Do you have anything else left to share, maybe? I feel like you’re hesitating but there’s something more, is there? Don’t keep it all for yourself, darling!

– You know me too well, Maggy. Okay, here it goes. I met someone.

– Really?

– Yeah, I have…although it’s relatively new, only a couple of days…but I met him in a most peculiar way and we just kept bumping into each other,  we spend time talking and for someone I met so soon I feel  I can trust him enough to open myself up a bit. And that’s not all! I just kind of got myself a cat too! A type of kitten going mature, around six months old, that just appeared out of nowhere in the lobby and in my apartment.  But both of my new acquaintances are lovely.

All of a sudden I feel surrounded by so much energy, I just can’t believe it, really! I heard Maggy’s loud laugh through the phone and waited for about what seemed like  two minutes until she spoke again.

– That’s just brilliant, my dear! Seems like you’re having the time of your life! I am so happy for you, Mia, so happy that I will come see you next weekend and see what does “ I kind of got myself a cat” means, I need to catch up with you, obviously.

– Yeah, that’s a great idea actually, some time here with you will complete the picture, I smiled.

– Definitely, my dear.

– Okay, Maggy. I’ll let you with the girls there to continue your game. Let’s talk during this week about your arrival.

– Yes darling, have a great evening too. Good luck on Monday! Kisses, my dear!

– Kisses, Maggy!

Luna was sitting on the bed next to me, looking curiously at me while moving her tail. I really didn’t know what that move meant, but I wanted to hug her so much because of  her funny little figure. She was like a cartoon, somehow, almost unreal.

 

I never had a little friend, like you. I’m actually amazed how you got here and how lovable you are. I hope we’ll get along great and I’ll never give you reasons to complain about my behavior.

Now let’s go back to Isabell and see what she’s up to.

 

I took her into my arms, I loved to feel her warmth and we went into the living room. Isabell was just hanging the phone with the girls, finishing the calls.

 

– Alright love, we’re set for tonight. Holly and Sienna will be here in about an hour, then we can order something to eat and either watch a movie or whatever.

– Yeah, great. This way we won’t stay too late, I placed Luna on the couch and went for some water.

– Want to tell me now about the project or we should wait until the girls get here?

– No, it’s okay, I want to talk about it now because I’m too excited. Thing is that this artist and many others I have been studying while In Italy have made a huge impression on my style of appreciation.

– But they all share the same grandeur with slight differences in colors they used. The techniques used, the materials, the style was something that sparkled in a new era. Each one of them had a unique message to share even though some of their works were on the same themes. And what intrigued me during my time there was the story behind the story. Why did they choose that which they had painted? What was happening in their lives at that certain period when they had painted it?

Mystery. Beauty. Art. Sometimes torment. Some of these artists I have studied used to work without sleep in order to finish a piece.

Almost beyond their human powers.

For me to restore a work of art like that is extremely rewarding. I liken it to the old magicians and their pursuit of alchemy.

There is something magical about testing the paints and creating a substitute. The process itself can take sometimes longer than the actual creation from scratch of the original  painting.  It will be magic, literally.

– Yeah, I can clearly understand that.

– All in all, I can’t wait for it. It’s what I was dreaming of during my time spent in Uffizi, in Italy. It’s heaven on earth there, somehow like Louvre. But Florence has something particular, Italy as well.  All of Tuscany’s towns are somehow magical.

– Yes, true. It’s a different world there. Maybe this autumn we can make some arrangements to travel there together and do a tour of all the small villages, I bet the girls would love it.

– Yeah, that would be amazing, and at the back of my mind a film showing memories from Italy started rolling while Luna was cuddling next to me like demanding to be part of my attention.

Images of Florence and the hills surrounding it, the roads to Sienna and the sights, the spas in Italy, my professors and the cappuccinos.

What a wonderful world out there.

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