Karl Simons, a fifty-one-year-old introverted and shy geography/history teacher, finally takes the plunge and goes on an academic tour of Italy. The first stop is Florence and La Galleria dell’Acciademia, the home of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, The David. Upon viewing the work of art, Karl begins to sense strong emotions for and connection to the statue that he cannot explain. Just before leaving the tribuna, Karl turns back to gaze once more on The David and makes a wish.
When he returns to his hotel, the place is abuzz with excitement. Unable to understand Italian, he proceeds to his room. There he finds Antonio, a naked young man, laying on his bed. Why is the man there? Where did he come from?
On learning the answers to these and other questions, Karl realizes his life will never be quite the same ever again.
“Good morning. Welcome to the Tribuna of David,” the docent began. “You will excuse if I am not as good with your English.”
Everyone murmured that he was doing just fine.
“Grazie,” he acknowledged the acceptance of his attempts to speak to a largely American crowd.
“Please, take your time and view this great work of art by Michelangelo. I give you few minutes to view and then to begin to tell you about this masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture.”
Karl, along with the rest of the group, began to slowly walk around the towering figure of David, second King of Israel. People spoke in hushed voices, if at all. All except Myrna, who commented loudly and frequently on different aspects of the statue’s body parts, especially that ‘pinchable butt.’ Karl was able to tune her out as he took in the beauty of the magnificent work. He took in the contours of its muscular chest and back, the round full buttocks, and long, strong arms. Coming around to the front of the statue, his eyes fell on the beautifully sculpted genitals. He felt himself plump in his boxers.
“If I can have your attention please,” the docent said. The crowd slowly stopped moving and turned to hear what the handsome young man had to say. Karl stopped to the left side of the statue and looked up into the youthful, handsome face.
“Michelangelo’s David was commissioned in 1501 and was completed in 1504. It was unveiled in La Palazzo della Signoria. In 1873 it was moved here to La Galleria dell’Accademia in order to protect it from the effects of weather.”
As the docent continued, Karl moved slowly to the front of the statue.
“It is sculpted of Tuscan marble.” The docent continued talking, but Karl was barely listening. He was staring at the eyes of the statue as he slowly moved from the side to the front.
The eyes are following me, he thought. No, that can’t be. He moved a bit more. They are following me. How is that possible?
“Now do we have any questions? I will do my best to answer, if I can.” The docent flashed his brilliant smile.
A man raised his hand.
“I am a Jewish rabbi,” a short balding man wearing a yarmulke began. “King David was a Jew. He would have been circumcised as prescribed by our religion. Why is this statue uncircumcised?”
There were a few flutters of embarrassed laughter.
The young docent cleared his throat. “That is a frequently asked question. No one knows the answer for certain, but it is speculated that Michelangelo’s model may have been uncircumcised and therefore the Master was true to the reality he saw before him.”
Myrna appeared beside Karl. “That Michelangelo fella, well, he was one of them there homasexshals, that’s what, and that there statue here is his model who he had in his bed.”
She nodded her head at the end of her statement for emphasis.
Karl turned and looked at her. “Where’d you hear rubbish like that?”
“Them guys over there. And they would know. They’s teachers!”
“Well, I’m a teacher, too,” Karl retorted. “And I say that’s a bunch of rubbish!”
Myrna shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
Karl looked up at the face of the statue. The eyes were still staring into his. Why am I defending you? After all, it would be great to think you were getting it on with old Michel. Karl laughed softly. Did you just smile at me? Karl thought almost aloud, addressing the statue. Man, you’re losing it! he admonished himself.
The crowd began to thin out and left the Tribuna. Karl was reluctant to leave. He turned at the entrance and looked back one last time.
Well, goodbye, David. I wish you were real. I’ve never had a boyfriend or a friend of any kind I could love. I’d love to meet a guy like you.
The eyes still held his. Karl shook his head and left.