Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate? That’s the question my heroine, May Gold must answer in this time travel love story. And she has to answer it in three short weeks, on a tour of Italy. A college adjunct teacher, she often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis—17th century sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies, she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man whose passionate art invented the Baroque style. But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend. She considers herself a precocious failure and yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit. May finds she has to choose: stay in a safe but stagnant existence or take a risk.
Opening her notebook to a blank page, she took up the pen, a pen that felt lucky because it reminded her of the first time Gianlorenzo had kissed her. She wrote her memory of that meeting in her book.
His glance was like warm light. My shoulders were barer than they have ever been as I posed for him. My breath fluttered like a bird in a cage.
A briny scent from the water wafted to her and made her pause. She watched the diamonds rippling in the dark surface that reflected slivers of the moon. Gianlorenzo had been making a portrait of her as Truth Unveiled. She shivered. A bird’s cry echoed over the lagoon. What kind of bird called out at night? A bird that had lost its mate.
He touched me the way warm sun touches the fields of Umbria and makes lavender burst open with aroma. As Apollo, he held the sun in his hand. That sun was my heart. He pulled it out of me and now it’s consumed. I’m ash, I’m terrified. How much I want to simply burn for love of him and vanish like a paper going up in flame.
She had to do something for him before she lost him for good and then went home. Beginning the letter to Bonarelli, she had no idea if a few strokes could erase the actual Costanza from Bernini’s life, but if they could, she had to. The irony was that no one would ever know, not even Gianlorenzo. She liked the idea of helping him without his knowing.
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Rachel Dacus is the author of The Renaissance Club, a novel called “Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time.” Dacus’ book Gods of Water and Air is a collection of poetry, prose, and drama. Her other poetry collections are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Pedestal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her fourth poetry collection, Arabesque, is forthcoming in August 2018 from FutureCycle Press. Read more on her website: racheldacus.net. Follow on Twitter: @Rachel_Dacus.