The water spray was cold. She tasted the salt on her tongue the moment they pulled out into the bay. There was a certain thrill to being there, standing on the boat and heading to a place she’d only seen on TV.
She was strange at this distance. The color that made her so famous weird to her eyes.
“Weird pigment.” She mumbled the words to herself as the continued closer.
The accented voice startled her out of her examination of the statue. She turned to the man who’d spoken to her, mindful of keeping hold of the rail as the choppy water bounced the boat.
He grasped the rail beside her, huddling closer, but keeping his eyes on Lady Liberty.
“It’s the reason why she’s green instead of copper.”
French. That was the source of that lilt in his voice. It wasn’t as pronounced, but it was obvious once she listened to him.
She tried to smile, but speaking with random strangers wasn’t a strong point of hers. She turned back to the rail, watching as they neared the platform to disembark the boat.
“The constant exposure to the weather and water has changed her from the beautiful brown to this ‘weird’ color.”
His shoulder brushed hers and she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. He was cute, all floppy brown hair and glasses. Tall too. Her type if she was ever the type to make a move. She was barely the type to carrying on basic conversations on a boat so the former wasn’t likely to happen.
“Are you from around here?”
She wasn’t sure why that spilled from her mouth and she winced internally at her silly question.
“Born and raised.”
She whipped her head around, spotted the twinkle in his eyes, and promptly burst out laughing. He winked at her.
“No, French by birth, though I’ve been here for twenty years.”
It was tough to guess his age, even with the faint laugh lines around his mouth and crinkles at the corners of his eyes.
The announcement to disembark sounded and they both joined the queue. He was behind so she was putting him mostly out of mind as her awe of the statue returned in force.
It was a short walk to the pedestal and she was standing under her. It was exciting, being near to something that signifies freedom.
She imagined being a young woman, sailing from Italy with a few clothes and her dowry, ready to start a new life. Seeing the Statue of Liberty in all its glory as she entered the bay would’ve brought tears to her eyes.
“Better up close?”
It was green pigment guy again. This time she didn’t startle when he moved in beside her. She was steeped in admiration and having him near didn’t bother her.
“Much. I wonder what my ancestors thought when they saw it?”
“Majesty. Freedom. Beauty. It’s what I’m thinking.”
The sun came out, hovering just behind and brightening that classic green hue. This place screamed ‘new beginnings’ and it was hard to let past issues overshadow the fresh start it could represent. She thought of that ancestor, stepping off on Ellis Island and knew that bravery meant she could stand there, free.
She found the idea made her a little braver than normal.
He smiled down at her and slipped his warm hand into hers. There were no electric sparks as their palms touched, but she found herself smiling back.
“Would you like to have a drink with me? You can tell me more about… the green pigment thing.”
She felt her cheeks warm. Her bit of bravery petered out and she did what she normally did when she felt awkward. She started to walk away.
“It’s verdigris and I’d love to actually.”
Well, color her shocked. Channeling her brave ancestor paid off.
She stopped her retreat, her cheeks burning hot even as a smile spread over her face. He had a matching smile for her and a few words about the acquisition of the famous landmark. They still had a bit until the boat returned to the dock so she fell in step beside him.
The statue stood like a symbol of fortitude and bravery above them. She’d carry a bit of that back with her.