Paix – Magpie Tales

keithharing

My father is staring at me, hard.

It has been years since we spent any time alone. I had been a judgmental daughter, belligerent, unable to accommodate the shades of grey in a life that I was convinced could only consist of black or white, right or wrong

I had grown into an adult, still believing my teenage views.

The past few months had ripped the rug from underneath my feet.

“Not a traitor? Not a traitor?”

I see him with new eyes. He is just a man. Just a human being like the rest of us. He is not a monster, just like my mother was not a traitor. They had paid high prices for living through times when making the right decision depended on so many inconceivable and unimaginable horrors.

And I had judged them both with hindsight.

“No. Not a traitor.”

His body sags. I can’t tell if this is with relief, or despair.

He reaches out a hand, an old hand. He has aged since we last met. I take his hand and my index finger caresses the thin gold wedding band he still wears despite everything.

“Thank you for telling me, Celine. It will never bring her back and you may never forgive me for taking your mother away so brutally, but at least she never betrayed us.”

Semantics, I think. It is all but semantics.

——

Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. This is the finale in my six part story which began in the midst of World War Two. Here are the fiveprevious instalments in order, if you want to indulge! Croix de Guerre, Collborateur, Oubliette, Verité and Honneur.

I hope you enjoy this week’s entry- and please do visit Magpie Tales for amazing poetry and prose!

 

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Tristesse – Magpie Tales

museum

“So, Celine, the day has finally come. Are you ready?”

My heart is racing, I feel light-headed. I know it is just nerves, but I am scared.

‘Don’t be silly,’ I cajole myself sharply. ‘You don’t know what real fear is, remember that!’

Dennis puts an arm lightly around my waist, his hand resting comfortably just above my hip. My best friend, my closest confidante, it is as if he can feel my inner turmoil

“The reviews from the historical societies, the Egyptologists, the international museum curators have been unanimous, my dear. It will all be just perfect. Ah, look, the big hand is on the twelve – opening time here we come!”

The museum clock strikes sonorously above our heads, 10 deep rings of the bell. Mr Adams, the doorman, pulls open the vast mahogany doors and a sigh rushes from my lips. The crowd outside the Nile Rooms is beyond my imaginings. My first solo curating experience, my first international collaboration – what a relief that the public also wants to know about the artefacts sourced from the depths of the Hidden Pyramids. I stare at the Boy King’s statue, glowing gold in its central spotlight. I hope I look as serene as he does.

The day passes in a whirl, the museum rings with the echo of constant footfall and awed whispers. It is just as I had hoped.

I am taking a rest, leaning against a wall behind one of the vast doors separating one exhibition room from another, when it happens.

A tall, elegant man, probably in his mid sixties, strides towards me, a look of shock, surprise and disbelief mingled on his striking features. He reaches out, takes my hand and bows. “F-fraulein?” Miss Sarah Masters? Mademoiselle Elodie DuPont?”

I stare. I haven’t heard these names for so long, not since my father had decided to confess to killing my mother all those years ago. I feel weak, oh, I need to sit down, I sag against the wall.

“No,” I whisper, looking around desperately for Dennis. Where is he? “She was my mother, Sarah Masters. Who are you?”

“Was? She is.. ah, tot? Dead?”

And I realise that it’s now my turn to be the bearer of bad news. Herr Gunther Weiss needs to understand his part in my mother’s murder.

 

——

Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. It’s a continuation of  what was going to be a trilogy, then seemed to expand and take on a life of its own! Here are the four previous instalments in orderr: Croix de Guerre, Collborateur, Oubliette and Verité.

I hope you enjoy this week’s entry- and please do visit Magpie Tales for amazing poetry and prose!

 

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Gloria! – dVerse Poetics

Something strange is happening in the ether. This week’s dVerse Poetics prompt yet again seems to have a certain connection with the unravelling of my own family history. I must confess, it’s like removing layer after layer of a very large onion!

This week’s prompt is all things Italian. Luckily for me (since I haven’t visited Italy), we don’t need to be obvious in how we interpret this prompt. As a bit of background, my mum used to take me to Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery every time we went into town, and I loved it. I now know that this place holds very strong and extremely fond memories for her, which adds to the joy of my own memories of our visits, which I adored.

I hope you enjoy my small snippet from my childhood – and take a look at all the other offerings on dVerse as well!

– Gloria! –

I spent my childhood here, or so it seems
A small girl, grasping her mother’s hand
Gazing open-mouthed at the glories above
Light reflecting on oil,
Paintings as lustrous as if they were finished only yesterday
And the brushes still resting, waiting to be cleaned.
If only I could reach up and touch
I just knew that my fingertips would pull away slick –
Sticky with vermillion, regal blue and baby-blush rose
A tiny remnant of Madonna and Child