Creative Corner is a space to share your creative writing at Roar! We hope you’ll enjoy the short stories we publish, all of which are written by current KCL students. Now, let Staff Writer Jackson Lanzer take you through a memory inside a Parisian café.
A clarinet radiated energy, sprinkling magic across the patrons of the café. Men and women sat on ornately carved chairs, laughing, dancing, disappearing into a painting of a Parisian world.
Hidden within life’s impassioned embrace sat a lone, grey-haired writer, his notebook sprawled across the table. Upon its weathered pages, his frail fingers jotted glimpses of the world that twirled before his eyes. His words captured humanity, the beauty of every moment inscribed beneath the man’s bespeckled gaze.
“Welcome back, young man,” said a waiter dressed in the crisp white uniform of Le Bonaparte. “An espresso to ease the pain of your studies?”
“Old friend, is my eternal suffering truly that obvious?” said the lone writer, glancing up from his page, a momentary grin stretching across his wrinkled face, “But yes, I am in dire need of caffeine.”
The waiter laughed and turned towards the bustling kitchen. As he strolled away, a vivacious woman stepped through the pine-green doors of Le Bonaparte, her auburn hair flowing with the French melodies in the air.
Her sapphire eyes met the lone writer’s gaze, and she smiled.
The delicate patter of her shoes matched the gentle hum of conversations sung from each table. When she reached his table, he stood and pulled out a chair, beckoning her into his realm.
“How have you been?” the young woman asked, staring at the lone writer’s face in search of emotions locked behind his eyes.
“I’m good,” he said, fidgeting with his notebook. “I’ve just been writing a lot. It almost feels like a lifetime if time were measured by ink spilt across a page.”
“Well, I’m happy for you,” she said, staring into his amber eyes. “You always wanted to be a writer.”
“I suppose,” he mumbled before his brow furled, a portrait of a hopeless romantic painted across his face. “But to be entirely honest, I no longer yearn to see my name on a bestseller list. I simply dream of your smile. It was the closest I ever got to living a happy life, even if it was just a glimpse.”
She blushed, a pink veil laid across her cheeks. She did not speak.
“I don’t know why I haven’t said this before, or why I decided to say it today, but it finally needs to be said,” the man confessed, “I love you.”
The woman forced a smile, but her lips strained to remain curled, and her eyes frowned at him. She shook her head, and then a frustrated sigh escaped her pink lips.
“You disappeared,” she said. “You abandoned me for your dream. Discarded me like I was some bad memory you hoped would fade away.”
The man took a deep breath, his lungs shuddering beneath immense regret.
“I was a fool,” he said. “I chased that dream because I thought it was me. But the moment you left, I became no one. A dream without a dreamer.”
The woman again shook her head, her auburn hair darting across her shoulders.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t be your salvation anymore,” she said, “I can’t be your source of humanity.”
“Just give me one more chance at us,” he pleaded. “At being human.”
But the woman simply frowned and then stood, her glamorous, emerald dress floating in the air. She placed her menu on the table and turned to leave, not even staying for a quick sip of espresso.
Before she stepped through the door, she gave the lone writer a wave and one final, brief smile.
“I hope you have a beautiful life,” she said, standing at the door, her aura luminous. “But it just won’t be with me.”
Tears clouded his eyes as she walked away from his life, becoming little more than an apparition.
“Life wasn’t beautiful,” the lone writer tried to say, choking on his words. “Something was always missing.”
But the door still swung close, and finally, even her shadow vanished beneath the door.
The world suddenly halted.
The clarinet’s melodies began to slow, and every mouth froze in a gaping roar of silence. The water the diligent waiter had started to pour into the writer’s empty glass froze midair, now a waterfall of ice.
“Sir, that’s the extent of your memory,” said the single, unpaused voice. “Would you like me to rewind the moment again, or shall we view another fragment of your life?”
“No, this moment shall suffice,” said the lone writer. “Loop it back again.”
“As you wish,” said the voice.
The water thawed and returned to the vase, defying gravity’s grasp. Breath reentered the clarinet player’s lungs, and the woman returned to her seat before elegantly strolling back to the front door, preparing to reenter the lone writer’s life a final time, once again.
Obeying habit, the lone writer mustered strength within his brittle bones to flip to the next page of his withering notebook, revealing a canvas for poems he had already written thousands of times before. The memories, the poems, and his life in the past were all just a final grasp into romance’s abyss and an endless plea for phantom love.
You can send your short stories, poetry or creative nonfiction to [email protected].
Jackson Lanzer is a college student from Los Angeles studying international affairs and journalism. He is a staff writer for his school’s newspaper and a writer for a sketch comedy group. Several of his short stories have appeared in 365tomorrows.