magpie tales - blue willow

Author: angiem, 05 17th, 2010

My aunt lives in the old city center where the apartments are spacious and high ceilinged and the plaster moldings gilded in gold.  Her corner apartment has intricate iron balconies that overlook the park and parquet floors covered in layers of Persian rugs.  My aunt is very beautiful and when we go out for a stroll and ice cream cone in the evenings, I pretend to myself that she is my mother.  I look like her, you know.  Not as beautiful, of course, but I could pass for her daughter.

Every few weeks she shows up at our house in the suburbs and asks if I am ready to spend a few days with her.  She favors me above all her nieces and nephews; in fact she confuses the names of the rest, and when they get anywhere near her she makes this little grimace as if they carry something contagious.  I don’t pack when I go to her place.  She has a wardrobe in her bedroom that is filled with clothes for me, dresses edged in lace and shiny patent shoes in red and black.  There are also dolls in there and stuffed animals that I am not allowed to take home.

My aunt has a very important job.  She is the assistant of a cabinet minister, often accompanying him on trips to other countries from where she brings me all sorts of little treats. My favorite is a blue willow tea set for my dollies. It is made of porcelain, the exact replica of the one in her tiny kitchen’s china cabinet.  We eat our breakfast off the blue willow plates every day, my aunt dressed in a silk robe atop her silk slip, her cherry red toes winking at me.

Everything in her apartment has a story.  Every piece of furniture, every painting, everything down to the last utensil has a memory attached. I wonder at the story of the blue willow plates.  She tells me that someday all that she has will be mine.  Then she looks at me and gathers me in her arms to smother my face with kisses.  I tell her that I love her and that I want to be just like her, because I do, and her eyes shine with unshed tears.  She gets up quickly and makes me another hot chocolate, the silence between us charged with so many secrets unvoiced, secrets that I know she has, secrets she has no idea I know, but that she’s dying to tell me.

And because I love her and I do not want to lose her, I let her be.  Yet I cannot wait for the day when she allows the tears to fall and puddle on the blue willow plate; the day she will confess that she is my mother.

This is a work of fiction. For more stories please visit Magpie Tales.


57 Responses to “magpie tales - blue willow”

  1. Joanny Says:

    Oh my what a beautiful tender touching magpie tale ,,,, a surprise ending… pass the tissues please.

    Lovely Magpie.

  2. Bebe Says:

    You are a gorgeous writer my friend. I always want more of your stories. Poignant. Incredibly touching and beautiful.

  3. Ange Says:

    A beautiful work of fiction Angie … And truly - MY mother and Aunts both have and love the blue willow pattern. Bisous

  4. Katherine Says:

    I love the twist right at the close of your story! A wonderful magpie Angie!

  5. Jessica Says:

    Woohoo, I knew it! Great post! I loved reading it.

  6. Beth Says:

    You’ve captured the mystery and fascination of the lives of those who are unique – who travel a different path – and the dreams and fantasies of little girls.

  7. julie Says:

    OH!!! so beautiful.. sad yet beautiful… Angie…you have a wonderful gift.. I’m so glad you share it with us.. xx Julie

  8. Diane Says:

    Beautifully done. Loved the ending. :O)

  9. Kirie Says:

    Beautiful, beautiful story, Angie. The details you reveal are like seeing breath on a mirror–proof that your characters are alive. Now the wondering me wants to know more about them!


  10. Carmen Henesy Says:

    What a wonderful story for this week’s magpie. I enjoyed starting my day with it!

  11. Mary Moon Says:

    How quickly this story captures me.

  12. Jane Jones Says:

    Dear Angie: A wonderful short story. How many little girls from the suburbs dream these rags to riches stories? Particularly love the lines;
    “when they get anywhere near her she makes this little grimace as if they carry something contagious” and ” her cherry red toes winking at me”. An excellent story well told via a child’s point of view. Very memorable and nostalgic!

  13. Susan Says:


  14. Enchanted Oak Says:

    A lovely story. Thank you for such a sweet, uplifting tale.

  15. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    Wow! You really paint an image with your words. Well done!

  16. Ava Says:

    Missed your stories Angie. They are of the best kind. I really wish you’d publish some of them.

  17. Patience Ray Says:

    This is one of my favorite stories I’ve read all week (and i read a lot!) You brought their relationship to life, the things left unsaid, her ‘mother’s’ past. so beautiful and full of humanity. Great Magpie!

  18. Lyn Says:

    This was very rich, and you caught me off good.

  19. Jena Says:

    Angie, this story made me shed tears. It is beautiful! I felt every emotion deep in my heart.

  20. Susan Says:

    Dear Angie:

    How well you write about the human ability to love and be loved. Simple yet quite touching. A bond like this is always has it’s moments, you see.

    I have not been here quite some time and I realise gosh! how much is there to be read.

    I am glad I stopped by today.

    Joy and love,

  21. Sabine Says:

    Oh, I enjoyed this story so much. Was right there with you/the storyteller and your beautiful aunt in her luxurious apartment. Exquisite!

  22. Kathe W. Says:

    Perfect story-loved the surprise ending-

  23. Bridgette Says:

    Very good.

  24. Tammy Says:


  25. Nancy C Says:

    You have the gift of clarity. I wish I could omit unnecessary words as well as you do.

    Lovely story.

  26. angiem Says:

    Thank you, all! So much.

    Missed you, Susan, but I know you’re very busy at the moment.

    Nancy, you make me laugh. If you’d meet me you’d come to the conclusion that I tend to ramble on, and sometimes really have no point.

  27. audrey Says:

    Angie, truly a moving story full of the sweetest details and descriptions.

    there is something about coming to understand that our mothers and aunts and grandmas are girls and women in their own right… they hold within them their own stories, experiences and secrets… enough to bring tears to one’s eyes…

    lovely story!

  28. Crystal Says:

    I loved it! So beautiful, you’re such a great writer. I really want to get better at writing :) YOu inspire me!

  29. Tumblewords Says:

    How beautiful this one!

  30. Kori Says:


  31. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    fabulous, just fabulous !!!

  32. cathi Says:

    what a wonderful story…you had me every step of the way and chills filled my body at the end! :)

  33. willow Says:

    I love that punch at the end! Well done, Angie!!

  34. Englishvers Says:

    This story is so deep and profound. Laced with yearning, anticipation, passion. A bitter-sweet lovesong. X

  35. Francesca Says:

    Your writing is beautiful, I wish feelings were easier.

  36. christina Says:

    oh oh so beautiful, my friend.
    i just purchased a few blue and white plates. when i saw the plates, i had to have them… i thought, they must have a story.
    : )

  37. Kristin Says:

    WOW. Now that’s heavy…and very lovely!

  38. kelleyn Says:

    What a beautiful story! You had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

  39. Dash Says:

    Oh Angie, your writing is so beautiful and haunting, I am mesmerised when I read it and my head is full of wonderful images.

  40. Theresa Says:

    quite a story

  41. Ötli Says:

    A beautiful tribute to your aunt…

  42. Mrsbear Says:

    I love the genuine and honest voice you bring to your stories. This is a great entry, the ending caught me by surprise. The details and the language are lovely. Nice work.

  43. laura Says:

    Everyone should have an auntie like this! You weave a tale worth sharing in the dark at bedtime.

  44. Anya Says:

    Dear Angie, thank you for sharing this beautiful story with me. Your writing is ebsolutely amazing - it feels like I know people you write about for ages…Wonderful tribute…

  45. Jill Kemerer Says:

    You captured it–the way our souls match others and our desperate need for a mother who understands. Beautiful.

  46. French Fancy Says:

    What a lovely story. Of course her aunt is really her mother I suppose (am I right?)

  47. Holly L Says:

    A twist at the end…I did not see that coming. Engaging and well written and always leaving me wanting more!

  48. Karena Says:

    Angie, you are an excellent storyteller. The twist at the end was indeed surprising.

    Art by Karena

  49. Mama Zen Says:

    This is fabulous!

  50. Christie Says:

    You have such a beautiful way with words. I love your Magpie Tales.

  51. debbie Says:

    I was quite taken in with this story. The ending was a huge surprise.

  52. Bunny Says:

    Angie, you have me hanging on your every word. I was fascinated as soon as I began reading about the description of the aunt’s amazing apartment. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

  53. Jeanne Says:

    Angie…this is wonderful. I have read a few stories about this plate and yours is so special.

    “And because I love her and I do not want to lose her, I let her be. Yet I cannot wait for the day when she allows the tears to fall and puddle on the blue willow plate; the day she will confess that she is my mother.”

    Pass the tissue!
    Well done :)


  54. Ida Says:

    You’re an amazing writer….

  55. angiem Says:

    Thank you, everyone! Your comments are generous and sweet.

  56. Relyn Says:

    You do truly have a gift.

  57. rochambeau Says:

    WOW!! Chills. You are something else, Angie. How much you express in so few words. Your GIFT. Thank you for sharing it here with others. You are a pearl. You will be published and lauded and I will share in your joy!


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