I bounded up the steps into the main piazza of the town and there was the familiar lion with its left paw hooked over a shield, stone wings splayed stiffly in the windless air. I stood stock-still, sweating heavily. I recognized it at once. It was the very same lion as the one hidden in the overgrown rose garden at Mawle.
At this distance the ruddy three-story brick front of the house seems shrunken, its ten slender pilasters, pedimented door, and Ionian bosses pathetically out of place, as if stuck on the face of an apple that has shriveled too long in the sun. There is no going back. All that is left to me now is self-imposed banishment from the one place where I have been happy. Perversely, patchily, but undeniably happy. I want to confess, to confess it all; and perhaps, if there is timeif I can bring myself to do it, if I have the courageto say goodbye.
Excerpted from The Bellini Madonna, by Elizabeth Lowry, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth Lowry. All rights reserved.
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