She stopped, her eyes locking on the face of the lion.

“Mi Scusi,” a man said, stepping quickly around her. He held a red flag up over his head.

She moved out of the way of the bustling train of people moving along the sidewalk. Another tour group being led to The Accademia, no doubt. Her next stop.

“What stories you would tell,” she mused, unable to take her eyes away. “If only you could talk.”

A soft breeze blew down the street, carrying with it the sound of voices. One voice, deep and compelling as a lover’s, whispered in her ear. Her skin tingled, and her eyes went to the lion’s eyes. And though she knew it was impossible, she also knew the words were his.

“Nothing that protects us from time,” the lion said. “So make time for beauty. See it. Feel it. Hear it. Taste it. Make it. Everywhere you go. Bask in it. Watch the stars. Smile with all your heart.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, knowing it wasn’t just a trick of the light when the lion’s head slowly nodded.


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