The grand museum was eight days across from end to end. It went on forever and climbed into the future. Where had it all come from? With great pride honorable old women swept and dusted and watched for error. "Don't touch that," they would say to the overzealous, and, "Look," to the complacent.
She and Basil rested at the bluest painting. He, a man from 500 years in the past, a barefoot religious fool in chains. She, modern and over-uneducated, taking in the simplicity and none of the detail. He laughed. He missed some of the details himself. The world had changed so much.
He spoke in the ancient tongue. She listened in her own language,
but understood him plainly.
The painting was a perfect square, blue within blue. Dark, deep, with hardly any deviation. It seemed to be a block of blue, save a shade here or there of something close to black but not quite. Inside it shone a mysterious light.
Where had it come from?
"It's like you," Basil said to the modern woman.
She saw herself in unkind ways. Imperfect, damaged, lacking, a step behind. That's not how Basil saw her. Reaching to God, that is what his heart told him.
He wanted to say, "Look," but waited for the right time.
The museum was filled with artifacts, statues and carriages and gold things. So much gold. The walls glistened. The floor glistened. The people, not so much. Basil laughed. This world was full of people who could not see themselves as they really were. They looked at art but did not see it. They rushed to and fro, but went nowhere. They had breath for many more years than most of his generation, but whittled away their time on inconsequence and complained that they were too busy to spend eight days wandering through a museum of beautiful things. Eight days of beautiful things, anyone? He cherished each moment. Basil praised God, the Creator of all things. They praised nothing. "Look," he wanted to say, but waited for the right time.