The Cafe Terrace

I was editing a novel for a friend the other night when I stumbled upon something I’d written in college for one of my Creative Writing classes. It’s a short story I wrote based around a famous Van Gogh painting called The Cafe Terrace. I have to say, after having read it again, it’s probably one of my favorite things I’ve written. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly adept writer which is why I went into editing instead (the fiction writing process is a very frustrating one for me too sometimes) but I am definitely proud of this particular piece. So I thought…why not post it on my blog? The painting it was written around is below too.

The Café Terrace

It was night and a hush had come over the town. The worn cobblestone streets were almost silent. A slight boop…boop…boop could be heard as the water from the rain gutters drizzled down from the roofs overheard. A clop clop clop echoed as a young couple walked arm-in-arm down the street. An old man with a wooly beard and tousled grey hair slept silently under the overhang of the Café Terrace. The street was dark but the café remained illuminated by the glow of the full moon. The beige tables were empty. The chairs sat motionless without their inhabitants.

As another couple passed by, a maitre’d  emerged from inside the café. Pulling a large white cloth out of his back pocket, he wiped the first table clean, then the next one, then the next. He picked up a small glass, still half full with Orangina, its rim stained with ruby red lipstick. He wiped a bead of sweat from his dark brow before throwing the towel in the trash. Done!

Still in his black and whites, he slowly paced down the cobblestone street, the tap tap tap of his black loafers echoing behind him. He pulled a small white, paper object out of his pocket and lit it with a match.

“Maurice! You’re late!” a petite woman yelled from a second story window.

He threw the cigarette onto the street, sighing quietly to himself.                

“I was working! I was working!”

As he stepped inside, he was greeted by two soft coos.

“Papa!”

“Ah, my loves.” He reached his arms out as the empty spaced filled with little blonde curls and porcelain skin. He kissed each of them softly on the head.

“I think it is time for bed my loves.”

“No Papa, no.”

“Yes.”

“Will you read to us, Papa?”

“Yes, please read to us, Papa.”

“Alright, alright”

He held their hands and led them to their small bedroom.

“So what would my little princesses like to hear tonight?”

“Tell us the story of Cinderella!” the youngest exclaimed.

“Alright. Well…once upon a time there was a beautiful young woman named Cinderella. Now Cinderella lived with her two evil step sisters and her evil stepmother. They were so mean that they made Cinderella dress in rags and clean the fireplace every night. Then one night, a beautiful fairy godmother visited Cinderella in her room and-“

He looked down to see both princesses fast asleep in their beds. Smiling to himself, he tucked them tightly underneath their sheets and kissed them softly on their tiny foreheads once again.

“Good night, my loves.”

“Ok ladies and gentlemen, we now move on from The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum by Vincent Van Gogh to one of his more celebrated works, the infamous Irises.

“Paula. Paula!”

“Yeah, mom?”

“Come on, we’re moving on to the next painting.”

“Oh uh-ok.”

She took another look at the painting, smiled to herself and moved on to The Irises. 

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