Reticence – Magpie Tales

magritte, rene, not to be reproduced 1937

Not To Be Reproduced, 1937, Rene Magritte

Christophe folded his clothes, laying them out on his bed before placing them in his suitcase, precisely and methodically. So it had ever been.

He did not need to turn from his to task for the exact layout of the room to be available to his memory. Burnished mahogany armoire to his left, ornate chest of drawers in the recess next to the fireplace and elegant sash windows to his right. The deep sash windows, each lower pane lifted precisely six inches to allow a healthy breeze to refresh the stale air, were dressed in elegant plum brocade curtains.

Nothing had changed since he had left all those years ago.

“Monsieur?” His manservant stood in the doorway, hands open in enquiry.

“Oui, Gaston. I am ready.” Christophe snapped shut his case, locked it and pocketed the key.

“Will we be returning… after, monsieur?”

“Non, Gaston. I am here to do my filial duty, that is all. We will leave as soon as the service is complete and the mourners have left. They expect nothing more, nothing less.” Christophe stared at Gaston, daring him to comment.

Gaston said nothing.

The father and son had not spoken in twenty five years, and now Monsieur Clement the elder was dead.

If they had anything to say to each other, it was too late now.


Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. I have been fascinated with Magritte’s art since discovering him as a teenager – my step-Dad has a book of his art on the bookshelves at home. ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ was my favourite, partly because of the play on words. This story is certainly not reflective of my relationship with my step-Dad, thank goodness! I thought there was something mournful about this painting, hence the tone of my piece.

I hope you enjoyed this, do let me know what you think.

magpie tales statue stamp 185

30 thoughts on “Reticence – Magpie Tales

  1. The story is powerful all by itself: a grown child doing the right thing for his father, not out of love, but duty. So sad and so many implications.

    Reading a story while looking at the painting is a delight. For I can stop thinking that Junior walks right after Senior, and I can’t help wondering who will honor Christophe…

  2. It’s always sad when we lose the connection to our history, as you’ve described in this piece… No matter what happens or how we like/dislike our parents, they are still a link to the past and what makes us who we are. I do feel the sadness, and for me the connection to the painting would be that this man, in losing his father with so much unresolved, has lost his own reflection in the mirror and a part of himself. Ah… That was wordy… *smile* Liked it!

    1. Indded, you are right, he has lost a part of himself. So many fractured and fractious relationships exist in real life… Thank you for your very thoughtful comment!

  3. An excellent write Freya.
    Made me think of my childhood – but for different reasons…
    Anna :o]

  4. That’s the secret – relationships must be nurtured and cherished while we are alive and before it is too late.
    :oved your story and it led very well into your conclusion
    Hope I can get your comment system to work
    See you again ~ Eddie

    1. Yes, well, some of this is written a little from my own experience, although thankfully, bridges were built before it was too late. I hope the same is true for you.

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