Matt awoke as the waning moon rose, shining through bare-branched trees, casting a silver shaft of light through the bedroom window. It fell squarely on Gina’s sleeping face, rendering her features in shades of grey. She took on the appearance of sculpted marble, a perfect, incorruptible statue.
His breath caught as he understood suddenly the feeling he’d had in the restaurant, the sense of some …irresistible quality that drew him to Gina, a memory he tried to but couldn’t recover.
A large framed picture hung in Matt’s childhood home, a photo of Michelangelo’s Pietà. The statue of Mary cradling the dead Christ was a favorite of his mother’s, and the photo was embedded in Matt’s earliest memories. Michelangelo had interpreted the Virgin not as a middle-aged woman with her face contorted in anguish, but young, hardly more than a girl, her expression a miraculous picture of piety, serenity and sorrow. As Matt gazed on Gina’s face he was overwhelmed by the memory of the image and all its associations of childhood, family and home. He felt an involuntary sob welling up in his chest. He stifled it silently, so as not to rouse the sleeping Madonna.