Once upon a time there was a girl. That girl loved traveling. She liked visiting many different places and making new friends. She lived with her family, her parents and her younger sister, in a big, busy city, a place she was leaving in summertime, to travel.
That summer, some friends of hers invited her to their house for some days. They lived in a country far away from hers, so she happily accepted their invitation, since she had the chance to travel once more. Furthermore, that country was famous about its green landscapes and its beautiful cities and villages. Knowing all these, the girl was looking forward to visit it.
In order to go there, she needed to travel by bus for a whole day. This was tiring, but it was beautiful at the same time, since she saw many different countries on the way. In the morning of the second day, she finally arrived at the village where her friends lived, exhausted but very happy, not only because she saw them, but also because she has noticed that the country was indeed full of green, with large fields and forests. The house where her friends lived was next to a big, green field, and looked like the house of the seven dwarves.
Her friends were very happy to see her, and they helped her to find her room. The girl left her suitcase and went to the dining room to have breakfast with the rest. Her staying has just begun.
After the breakfast, she decided to go to the garden for a walk. She loved walks, and walking in a green garden a summer morning was something wonderful, that allowed her to enjoy the tranquility among trees and flowers.
Suddenly, she saw a statue behind some trees. She went closer, and saw that it was the statue of a young, handsome man, in clothes of an old era, staring at nowhere. His facial expression was melancholic, something that made the girl to feel sorry about him, and wonder why he was so sad and what could have happened to him.
She quickly ran to the housekeeper, and asked her about the statue. She wanted to learn who the person that the statue depicted was, and how this was found in the garden of her house. “Well, the story of this statue is quite popular in our village” the housekeeper replied. “Many years ago there was a mansion, located here, where our house is. It was the house of a wealthy young man, who didn’t like to make friends, and communicate with other people in general. That’s why he left the city he used to live in and came here, to live isolated, far from everybody. The only people who were seeing him were his servants, since he was rarely going out of his house. Sometimes, a servant would probably go to the village market, to buy things to cook, and all the people were gathering around him, asking about his master. But not even the servants were very social and talkative. They were just saying that their master did not wish to talk to other people, and they were leaving. Finally, that young man was mysteriously disappeared. Nobody ever learnt how he died. His servants left the village and the mansion was abandoned until it was demolished, fifty years ago. Keep in mind, though, that this story starts a century ago. In the mansion’s place the house we live in was built, and the statue you saw, which depicts the young man, was located in the garden, as the only thing that survived from the mansion and in memory of its resident. Of course, whoever believes in paranormal phenomena says that the statue is alive, since the spirit of the young man haunts it. All these are nothing but local legends! I live here and I never noticed something strange. This is the story of the statue you saw in the garden.”
The girl was really interested in what she heard. After the housekeeper finished her narration, the girl went in front of the statue, stood before it, and said:
“So you were living here, isolated…why did you do that to yourself? It is wonderful to have friends. It is also said that your soul still lives here, inside this statue…I wish I could talk to you! I wish I could meet you! I wish I could learn why you used to live like this, and to help you feel happier!”
That same night, the girl and her friends were sitting in the garden, before a fire they lit, relaxing and enjoying the night sky. Suddenly, a star fell. The girl whispered a wish: “I wish the statue in this garden could come to life!” A little bit later, while most of her friends were going to sleep, she got up and walked in the garden, as if she was hypnotized. Her steps brought her before the statue. She was staring at it, when she heard a voice:
“Could you please help me to descend that pedestal, young lady?”
The girl was terrified, as she discovered that the statue was talking! She immediately thought of the wish she has made, though, and stayed calm. She took the young man’s cold hand, helping him to reach the ground. “Thank you! It was difficult for me to make such movements, it has been a long time since I am standing up there without making a move…but who are you? Where am I? Where is my house?” The girl, who successfully hid her joy about what was happening, smiled to him and said:
“It’s a little bit cold here. Let me see if everyone is sleeping, and you’ll come with me to sit before the fire, I’ll explain you everything.”
“What fire? Who lit it and when?”
“Don’t worry, it’s not a dangerous fire” laughed the girl. “It is safe to be next to it.”
She was lucky enough to find nobody around the fire, since everyone was sleeping, so she took two chairs, and called the young man next to her.
“I would like to tell you what I know about you, first” said the girl, and told him the story she heard by the housekeeper. “We now live in the twenty-first century” she said at the end.
“What you know about me is true. I did not like to have other people around me. For that reason, I left my house in the city and I moved to this village. Nothing good came out of it, though…one night, I was walking around my house, thinking of the way I have chosen to live. I was seeing that I did not like what I was doing, since I had no one to share my thoughts, my feelings, my life with. While I was walking, I have lost my balance, and fell down the stairs. I died immediately, and I still remember my self as a spirit, watching my terrified servants find my lifeless body in the morning. They buried it in the local cemetery with no funeral, and then they started abandoning my house. All the years that followed, the only one who lived in the house was my spirit. After the demolition, my spirit inhibited the statue that depicted me, which remained in the house that was built after. I have never managed to leave this place, or this world.”
The girl was listening to him, enchanted. At the same time, she was noticing his external appearance. He had blue eyes, a manly face, and he seemed to be thin. He could be tall enough as well, as she noticed when he was standing next to her. In the light of the flames, she saw that his hair had a brown-blonde color. “Such a beautiful man destroyed himself with his own behavior…” she thought. When he finished talking, she said:
“I understood that you were sad since the first moment I saw your statue. And I wished that the statue could be alive, so that I can help that young man to find his smile again. I will not stay in this country for too long, but I will try to do my best.”
“Will you do that thing for me?” asked the young man.
“Yes” she responded.
Suddenly, she noticed that he was turning into marble.
“What is happening to me again?” he cried.
“It’s the daylight” said the girl. “It seems like I can only see you during the night. Hurry up, let’s go back to the pedestal! I will come to see you tomorrow night!”
“Alright, but do not forget that! Please, come again tomorrow!”
“I promise I will come as soon as everybody is sleeping!”
She helped him to get on the pedestal, where he turned into a statue again. She put the fire out with dry branches, and went to her room to sleep.
After that night, the girl had the most extraordinary holidays. In the days, she was going on field trips with her friends, to nearby cities. She loved field trips, because they were giving her the chance to explore the country, finding out more about its cities, and its people and their lifestyle. In the nights, though, she was experiencing the magic: she was waiting for everybody to go to bed, so she could stay alone with her friend, the friend that only she could see. They were sitting before the fire, and when there was no fire, they were sitting under the stars, discussing. He was talking to her about the era in which he lived, how the people were back then, how they were living…at least, what he experienced before he got isolated. She was telling him about the time we live in now, her country, the countries she has been to, and the experiences she had in his own country. The young man was impressed by everything he was hearing. Not only because he had the chance to compare his era with hers, but also because he was learning how people live in society, since it was something he never experienced as he could. It was wonderful that somebody was found to bring him in touch with all these. When he was alive, he chose to live hidden from everyone and everything. As a spirit, trapped in a statue, he again lived isolated. For the first time, somebody was interested in him. He was alive for somebody. That person was the girl, who showed him so much love, something that nobody has done before.
However, that friendship was not valuable only for him. The girl was glad to be his friend, teaching him so many things. She was always a social and outgoing person, but in the case of the mysterious young man, she was helping him by being that friendly. She wasn’t a girl who was talking with him, just to pass the time. She was the one who was teaching him the importance of friendship, through her company. But for the girl there was something else going on at the same time, since her feelings for that beautiful, melancholic young man started to change…
The days went by, and the time for the girl to go back to her country came. On the one hand, she was happy that she would return to her family and friends and share the great moments she had in that country with them. On the other hand, she didn’t want to leave her friends and the young man that soon…the night before her departure, she told him:
“Tomorrow midday I will leave the country. I will return to my home. That’s why I want to say goodbye to you tonight” she said, embracing him. She was holding him tight, as if she didn’t want to leave him.
“Why so soon?” he asked.
“Because I have to, unfortunately…” she replied. “I came here for a few days, I cannot stay longer. And the worst thing is that I am going to miss you…very much!” she said, and had tears in her eyes.
“Why are you crying?” the young man asked.
“Because I love you!” said the girl, crying in his arms.
“How can such a lively person love me? Somebody who does not talk, does not react, does not live!”
“Probably that is what I love in you. Your melancholy and seriousness…I am really lively, as you said, but a man like you managed to enchant me. And you’re beautiful! So beautiful…”
After that, the young man put his fingers in her hair, and still holding her in his arms, he told her:
“I want you to know that I love you as well. I love you because you always smile, because you are a happy person, full of energy. I love you because you did something that nobody ever did for me: you talked to me, you were there for me, you loved me. You saved me with what you did. Now I will not have to live inside the statue! I am free to go to Heaven, where many other souls are. And I will never forget you.”
“I don’t want to leave you…”she said, still crying.
“You will not. You will never forget me as well. I will always be alive in here” he said, showing her where her heart was. “I want you, though, to promise me something,” the young man continued. “When you are going to leave tomorrow, I want you to smile, as always. I do not want you to cry! Promise?”
“Promise…” said the girl, without crying this time, almost hidden in his arms. He kissed her on the forehead, and for the rest of that night, they sat under the stars, embracing each other, without talking. When the sunlight came, the girl helped him to get on the pedestal for the last time.
“After I turn into marble, I will not live in the statue any more. Goodbye!”
The next day, she left as she has promised him. With a smile on her face, and moved at the same time, she said goodbye to her friends, and told them that she will visit them again. She took her suitcase, and went to take the bus that would take her back. There were lots of things in her mind: the experiences she had during the holidays, her friends, her family, and the beautiful young man. It was both sweet and painful to remember him, since she loved the fact that she met him, but she couldn’t stand that she wouldn’t see him again. The life goes on, though, and the girl knew that nothing should make her sad. So, she went back to her country, with beautiful memories to share and ready for her next adventure. And the young man would watch her from above, being so proud of her. What about the statue? The girl’s friends who live in the house still wonder why the once melancholic statue now has a little smile…