“Momma, is that an angel?”
The woman stopped and picked her child up, staring at the statue of the amputee Goddess who was unfortunately missing her head as well. She thought for a moment before sitting her daughter down, crouching to address the girl, “No, Cornelia, she’s a Goddess. She blessed excellent soldiers with victory.”
Cornelia looked at her mother, and then back at the statue, “Does she have a name?”
“Of course; her name is Nike,” the woman smiled, loving how Cornelia could pick up on things and still think of such things in human terms.
“She’s beautiful. And her name is pretty. Can I have a dress like hers?”
The mother let out a small laugh, thinking of how the dress seemed to be part of the woman depicted, and not very appropriate for a five year old. Where her child saw what could be a potentially beautiful woman, she saw a haunting beauty.
This was not her first time to Paris, nor would it be her last, but the statue constantly lured her back. When she was a child herself, she would run to find the statue while her parents took their time to look at all of the other works of art, not noticing their daughter wandering off. When she found the Winged Triumph, as she later learned that it was called, she would run her small hands over the cool marble base, gazing upward at the Goddess’s wings. She knew better than to touch it, but she couldn't help herself, Nike compelled her to understand the indescribable beauty.
Now she saw the same awe in her daughter’s eyes, the same desire to know what the ethereal face looked like. Was it fierce? Loving maybe? Or did it express an unmistakable pride in what she allowed mortals to accomplish?
The woman asked her daughter if they could go, the answer being that the only way they could go back to their hotel would be if they could return the next day; of course she would consent to such a request.