I was lost staring deeply into the "Starry Night Over the Rhone" when a young couple sidled up alongside me. She was striking in an unconventional way. She knew what suited her and dressed accordingly. Her make up accentuated rather than obscured. He was dressed like all boys his age. His hair looked like he shared the barber of a "Kings of Leon" cover band and his red and black chequered shirt screamed, "Accept me in a bar that plays sport on the TV screens."
"The problem is we take photos of art and move on before contemplating the grace in each piece before us. A selfie that says "Look where we are!" and a reminder for everyone at home that we're away being wonderful. Look at this piece by Van Gogh. He died in squalor yet produced works of beauty. Now tourists bustle one another out of the way to take a snap of history before moving on oblivious to the history before them."
The boy snuffled. He must have had a cold.
"Pretty gay if you ask me."
He laughed and they moved on.
Later that night as I walked the streets I saw the couple again sitting out the front of a packed bar full of cool kids. They were both on their phones. He was laughing as he talked to someone and she looked bored flicking through a page on her screen. I wanted to approach her and ask if she wanted to accompany me as I walked through the city at night but instead I took in the beauty of the scene and instead wandered off alone but not as alone as the couple that I left behind.
Copyright Justin Hamilton January 2017