The Man in The Painting

The server left, and we all looked at each other and smiled, as we knew we could finally have the conversation we all wanted to have. The noise of the restaurant came back to our ears, as we saw the server walk away, and we all looked in the same direction to look at him, the man we all wanted to know better, but knew so little about. Looking down at us, he looked more serious than ever, and one more time we picked up the conversation where we had left off.

I insist, it looks like my uncle Fred, but with a hat on. Said Gerard, again, as he had told us many times. We all looked up at the man in the painting, the same man we had come to see in various occasions, always wondering who he was, and why were we so intrigued by him. It was the game we had been playing for the last few months, to try and figure out who was the man in the painting, always looking at us from that same wall.

I’ve met your uncle Fred, he looks nothing like him. I believe he is a priest, or some sort of master; a teacher perhaps. You can see it in his eyes, he is looking at his students. We all had our own ideas of who the man was, and what he used to do, and these ideas changed sometimes of course. The only thing we knew for certain was that we liked that restaurant and that there was something about the painting, or the man in the painting, that called our attention more than anything else.

I think he was the owner of these lands, back in the day. He owned the land where this restaurant stands now, and asked for a portrait of himself so people would know all of this was his once. Whoever he was, we knew he had been someone important, or was now important to us at least. There was something mystical about the man in the painting, maybe his eyes, or his distinguished calmness; something told us we were sitting in front of the painting of a great man, a man we all wanted to know.

Dinner went by, one more time, as we each kept guessing who the man in the painting was. As we got ready to pay, a server we had never seen before came to our table and said he had heard some of our conversation, as he walked by, and he could tell us who the man in the painting was. We all, at unison, said no, and got up to leave.

We didn’t want the truth to steal the mystic the painting had for us, we preferred to keep guessing, or imagining who the man was without knowing the truth. Sometimes imagining is better.


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