There is nothing in the back of this cafe. It sits right on the margin between the edge of the world and infinite possibilities.

Gloria Naylor, Bailey’s Café
Image Source: Pinterest

The Sad Cafe V

A Love Story by Holly Hunter and Hyperion Sturm
Incantations
By Holly Hunter

When all that I want is so far away
and all that is left is solitude,
I chant your name through warm
currents of breath or sharp ice
shadows of entities.
I’ve etched my likeness into the stars
a dreamer in fields of flowers
a bouquet of affection fragile jonquils
pressed against a heart.
Tethered to cloud banks of silvery sleep
we meet in fantasies and the
sweetness of a lover’s suffering
❂❂❂

The Sad Cafe seemed to show its age. The awning was dulled by the accumulation of time and the brass handle no longer glittered in the light cast by the streetlamps. Inside, the crowd was different; even the patrons’ clothes were more casual than before. David could see his reserved place in the corner where he and Renate had sat that first night at the Sad Cafe and many more nights after. 

Like his faded memories, the table was empty, hidden in the shadows to shield lovers and loneliness from the pain of discovery. David liked that he could be alone to think about what comes next. 

The Head Waiter recognized him and ushered him to his seat. David sat on the booth seat, back to the wall. Renate could show her back to the crowd, and he would see every tiny nuance of movement and catalog the people that came in and left, keeping Renate safe from any rudeness that might accompany a guest with too much alcohol and an ill temper. Ah, this is Paris. I forget where I am sometimes.

“Have you seen Mademoiselle Renate,” David asked.

Ever discrete and careful not to show his understanding of the disappointment he must deliver, The waiter said, “I will check if she left a message.” He knew the message already given to him three days ago by phone. Renate had come months earlier and left a package to deliver if David showed up. Mademoiselle need not have paid him the 100 Euros to ensure David got the box, the message, or his dedication. She was a beautiful woman with such a poignant grace. Her face and the elegant way mademoiselle stood before him was betrayed by a pain reflected in her eyes he could only guess about. Yes, he would do what she asked.

The waiter returned as the jazz singer tuned up her vocal cords to the worn piano. Her lyrical message told the story of when love comes to town, and how her heart swoons to the swirling currents of desire.

“Sir, I’m sorry. Mademoiselle cannot be here tonight. She sends her regrets and asks that you enjoy the evening so you can tell her about it when you meet again.”

The crush of disappointment gripped David as he nodded, unable to speak. The staff swooped in and set his pre-ordered meal minus the portion reserved for mademoiselle. A delightful young lady stepped up next to David and brushed his shoulder with a supple hip as she bent over the table to light the candle. She turned and smiled, her glance an open door. David caught his voice and turned back to the waiter and listened as the waiter wished his patron a good appetite, and could he be of any further service.

“Yes, did mademoiselle say where she was?”

There was a pause as if a secret password were uttered that triggered a programmed response.

“London,” was all he told David as he handed him a handwritten note. He looked down and studied it. There was an address to a hotel in London. Below, he read, Come to me if you can. It was signed in Renate’s decorative signature.

As he looked down to put the note in his pocket, he noticed a flask on the seat. It had slid down to the back of the cushion. He picks it up. Where had he seen this kind of flask before? Was it the girl who lit the candle? That was why she nudged me. She placed it here for me to find. David slipped it into his suit coat pocket. He’d look at it later. Such passing of information was not uncommon in his line of work. Nothing happened by accident, and contacts were always strangers to each other. David maintained a spider web of secrecy, the talisman of hidden intent, protected from nefarious governments and dark industry’s ongoing probes.

The meal was exquisite, as usual. Age and experience had perfected the chef’s craft. David paid and left a tip that would ensure further loyalty. As he listened to his steps echo off the walls of silent shops and the upstairs apartments, mixed with the far off susurrations of traffic and nightlife, David worked the plan to go to London in his head. Yes, the sooner, the better. He would call and leave a message at the front desk of the hotel. “Be there, soonest, David.

44 thoughts on “The Sad Cafe V

  1. Well, this is just brilliant!
    The way the poem creates the story, and that the tale does not betray the poem.
    The solitude – an empty chair in a dark corner
    The disappointment – a shadow’s entities
    Being there soon – a sweet jonquil’s fantasy
    I can prate on, but I rather await VI!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Resa, you do get this subtle dance between poetry and prose so perfectly. Episode VI is on the drawing board now and takes us to one of Holly and my favorite places, the beach. We Floridians must have our surf and shore.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re writing a real masterpiece, Daniel.

    The descriptions and the atmosphere of the story you have woven feel so real.

    It is the literary equivalent of a master artist of the 19th Century who fully captures the essence of what he sees around him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A grand complement Chris. I greatly appreciate it. I think there is that flavor of the 19th century in this story. Smart phones and internet are purposely left out of this timely tale. It takes place when time and distance could be insurmountable barriers except to the most determined. Love was tangible and all the senses were in play.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hah… I sense a whole layer of intrigues coming in. The “agency” (David’s employers) has caught on to the romantic involvement, had a chat with Renate and advised her to leave Paris… for health reasons, of course, and now they’re watching to see what David is going to do.
    “Did he pick up the flask?” “Yes. The tracker is working. It will pick up and transmit their conversation when they meet.” “You’re sure he’s going to meet her in London?” “Guaranteed. The hotel concierge texted me an image of his note to Renate. ‘Soonest’ is the operative word.” “So, he’s working for the Russians, then?” “Too soon to tell but if you think I buy this shit about true love, give me a break. We know this much, he’s not Mossad, he’s actually pro-Palestinian.” “No shit, that could be useful.” …and so on… (Just having a bit of fun there, Hype!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve given me a ton of ideas, Sha’Tara. Robert Ludlum’s, Bourne Identity doesn’t stand a chance. Maxwell Smart had his shoe phone and Agent 99. David has his smart flask and Renate. I’m seeing the parallels now.

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      1. The way I was looking at the development, it seemed the kind of thing a suspense writer would go for. Lot’s of chasing around, almost meeting, missing each other again and again while the “agents” convinced there’s hanky panky going on are hot to trot on the chase, Renate leaving misdirecting clues and David picking up on her game and in the end… sorry idiots, it was true love all the time, and there was no conspiracy, no spies, no traitors, just two very smart people enjoying the chase and leading the security/spy teams on a real wild goose chase. And they lived happily ever after, with or without the little dog! Comedy-drama with the poetry always there to guide the play should anyone care to pay attention… like Max’s reports. “Doesn’t anybody read my reports?” Definitely looking forward to the next installment!!!

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    1. Great comment Michel! I do believe the café you mentioned should be on David and Renate’s list of places to see. They appear to be moving around a lot. Time to settle on one place.

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                    1. Certainly not. In human history, the rise and fall of empires and city states has always been avoidable, even when the only challenge is environmental. In all of our millennia we have not chosen to endure, always succumbing to a civil exhaustion followed by the final fall. But, in every destruction rises a new Rennaissance for a time. I would like to skip the fall and just go straight to Rennaissance. That would be a nice change of pace. 😎😎

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t do it without you, Rene. I thought I’d throw in a little suspense and intrigue, some personal conflict to add a little tension. Otherwise, David should get his narrow behind over to Renate’s place and stop dragging his feet. They need to be together. 😍💞🥰

      Liked by 1 person

                    1. I think sleeping in your leathers on Monte Sano during the fall is a good idea. All the buggy dudes and dudettes will be finding a place to hunker down until spring. We’ll have it all to ourselves and the deer, of course. Monte Sano was a Confederate camp during the Civil War. The Northern Army smartly avoided going in there. The Confederate troops that held Monte Sano built an elaborate network of trails, cisterns, and defensive positions. It has a ton of caves too. The Ducati Rebel Alliance (DRA) could live well and undisturbed there, except for the occasional festival, which always manages to be well behaved and fun at the same time.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I didn’t know about MS. How could I miss that In an entire year? I missed a lot in Germany too. there is an SS cemetery in Bitburg that I recently learned about. I was busy hanging out at the gasthaus and Sdhwimbad.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I was very fond of the gasthaus and schwimbad life. There were no unhappy moments there with friends. However, my likely inherited curiosity took me to a lot of places and the most interesting finds were during periods of geographical displacement or just being lost. The most stunning was during an expeditionary adventure in Southwest Asia. I was captured, escaped, and made my way across the desert to friendly lines with my sense of humor and adventure intact. I discovered something out there in the desert that has never left me for a second since. No matter where life takes you, let your senses and emotions guide you through the experience. Now, I only remember the undisturbed ocean of burning sand and at night the brightness of the Milky Way guiding me every step of the way back home. Because we lived an expanded life, our universe is boundless and full. I found it necessary to life that I never underestimate the kindness of others and appreciate the smallest things, those tiny victories do add up. That changed my life’s trajectory. I have a picture of me celebrating my return by doing a rain dance next to the Persian Gulf. I’ll IG that for you. You can definitely tell my Head Elves were just as silly then as they are now.

                      Liked by 1 person

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