Paris, the city of lights - a flash fiction short story

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Paris, the present

Paris, the city of lights, was gray and black and white as Sophie sipped her coffee and looked outside. The remains of Raymond's visit were scattered across the table.

Their words had been brief and cruel. A lover's quarrel gone terribly wrong. She hadn't meant what she said. Had he?

Raymond had flown in from New York City just to see her. Or so he said at first. They had been separated for three long months. Her time here in Paris on temporary assignment with Vogue magazine was stretching on for another three months.

Raymond wasn't happy about that, but then neither was she. She longed for the familiar busy filled streets of New York City - home to her and Raymond. She missed Raymond most of all. That was what she was trying to tell him, but his sharp words had wounded her right down to her soul.

Then she had retorted with sharp words of her own and her eyes had filled with tears. Raymond just shook his head. Another one of her silly ploys, crying. Raymond's words had stung her.

Sophie motioned for the waiter to come to the table. She paid the bill and stepped outside onto the chilly Paris street. She pulled her sweater around her and walked down the street, observing people at the cafes.

She walked along the sidewalk alone hearing the quiet, gentle, hushed tones of conversation among the people. It was exactly what she had envisioned herself and Raymond doing. But, after the sharp words he had quickly left in a huff. He had more important things to do in this world than hold her hand while she cried at a Paris cafe.

Should she give up her job? Was that the answer? Yes, Raymond was worth it - she loved him dearly. But, was he giving up anything to be with her in Paris? Apparently not. As he had sharply pointed out to her, his visit coincided with business for which he was here in Paris. This was news to her. She thought he had come exclusively to see and visit with her.

She crossed the street and noticed an empty cafe. It was like her heart, empty at the moment and so forlorn. She lingered for a second and then walked on. The crisp wind went right through her sweater and chilled her to the bone. She rustled around in her bag until she pulled out a woolen scarf and wound it around her neck. There, that cut the wind as she walked and she felt a bit warmer.

She should walk on to her apartment and get out of the chilly weather, but instead she took a turn in the opposite direction. She just wasn't ready to enter an empty, cold, vast apartment.

She watched Parisians as they drank their espresso's and cafe au lait's and occasional glasses of wine. Their cares were far away from hers as she heard the quiet laughter.

Dusk began to fall and still Sophie walked on - past the Eiffel Tower, Paris' grand attraction, where so many photo shoots had taken place for Vogue. The tower looked hard, steely and cold against the gray mid-darkened sky.

She had planned to bring Raymond here on his first day in Paris. Lunch at the restaurant on the second floor of the tower. Then a climb to the top for a panoramic view of Paris. A day of love and romance in the city of lights.

Before she even realized it, they had been arguing - Raymond left and that was that. Now, it was all ruined. She noticed a lone bicycle propped up against an old doorway of a building. A lone bicycle for a lone traveler much like herself.

Sophie looked away and brushed tears from her face with her fingers. Everywhere she looked in Paris, aloneness. At the cafes, alone in a crowd or cafes alone with no customers at all.

Darkness had settled over the city by now and still Sophie walked. She was tired and worn out from working so hard at the magazine. Then today, Raymond had taken the wind out of her sails as they say. She walked along - so many people filled the cafes on this crisp evening. They had become anonymous and faceless to her. Did she look that way to them?

As she wound around the Paris streets she finally realized she was home at her apartment. The doorman smiled and tipped his hat to her and opened the door. She smiled back sheepishly. Once inside, she stopped at the concierge desk to see if there were any messages for her. No, none.

She sighed heavily and rode the elevator up to her apartment. She struggled with the card to open the door. What had happened to simply using keys? Keys were so much easier than these blasted cards. After about five attempts, the door clicked open and Sophie stumbled a bit into her apartment.

She turned on the lamp on the hall table. There, now illuminated, sat Raymond with a sheepish look on his face holding a single gardenia flower, her favorite.

© 2013 Suzette Walker suzettetaos

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Comments 62 comments

M K Paul profile image

M K Paul 3 years ago from India

I always dreamt of visiting "Paris". Thanks for sharing the information.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

MK: Thank you so much for reading this story. So glad you enjoyed it!


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

Suzette,

Thank you for helping me to see the world through the lens of facts or fiction. I loved the story (gardenias are my favorite flowers) and the ending. I also thought the following lines were especially great in capturing the mood:

"The remains of Raymond's visit were scattered across the table."

"She crossed the street and noticed an empty cafe. It was like her heart, empty at the moment and so forlorn."

Voted up as always. Thank You for sharing all your many talents.

Kim


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Kim: Thanks so much for reading this. Sometimes we get so tangled up in silly details when conflicts arise he don't see the whole picture. This is my Thanksgiving story-a little bit different twist on an important theme. I can say the same thing about your writing too. Your writing truly is wonderful and inspiring to me with your unique voice.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well-written, Suzette. It is not easy writing flash fiction but you did it very, very well.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

You transported me -- thanks


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

Loved the story - and the ending. I was in Paris during the summer but didn't get up the Eiffel tower - too many tourists!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Beautiful story, in so few words. I loved it.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Lovely story and a visit to Paris as well! Enjoyed it.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Bill: Thanks so much. I just put pen to paper and this is what came out. It surprised me too. LOL Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thanks Eric. I am glad you enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your visit.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

DreamerMeg: Thanks so much for your comments and I am glad you enjoyed reading this.. How nice your got to Paris this past summer. It has been years since I have been there.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thanks so much Becky. Like I said, I just put pen to paper and this is what came out. I really didn't plan ahead to do a flash fiction piece. In fact, this is the first one I have ever written. It is an interesting bit of a story. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your visit.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Blossom: Thanks so much. Yes, I was in a Paris kind of mood, put pen to paper, and this is what came out. So glad you enjoyed reading this.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. A wonderful romantic tale. Loved it and passing this on.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Gypsy: Thanks so much and I am so glad you enjoyed it.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I was smiling at the end when Raymond showed up with the flower. Lovely story and so well written.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thank you Dianna and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. That makes me happy.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Suzette, Paris and romance goes so well together....a lovely read, beautifully done.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

suzettenaples, well there is no hiding the fact now. You are a romantic. A hopeless romantic. Your story is excellent.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thanks, Jo for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this. I appreciated your visit.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM Author

LOL Mike, I consider myself a hopeful romantic. So glad you enjoyed reading this.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

You have taken us to Paris and moments in Sophie’s life that come alive through your words and imagery. I loved the ending! Beautifully written, Suzette.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thank you so much Genna and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. I appreciate your comments.


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great story you make the setting of Paris come alive with your writing and the photos. Voted up, pinned and shared.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

MPG: Thank you so much for your comments and I am so glad you enjoyed this story. I appreciate your visit.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

Good use of transposition and your imagery created the scene really well. Romantic and well told.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thanks Anna and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. It was fun to write. Thanks so much for your insightful comments.


Jane Arden 2 years ago

Suzette I have read many of your stories and yet again you havent failed to engulf me into your world. This reminded me a little bit of the series of films by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. (Before Midnight) It reflected real life. Thats what we want at times, to read about people that are living our lives. (Well, maybe not quite our lives, hee hee. I have no Raymond and I'm not in Paris - Does a husband and London count? Rhetorical ????)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jane: Thank you so much for your kind comments and for reading this story. I have seen the Delpy and Hawke films and I am thrilled you would put my story in that type of category. Thank you so much for your insightful comments. Yes, a husband and London certainly does count! LOL I was in London years and years ago, but I love that city and remember much from my week there. Thanks so much for your visit.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

An enjoyable short story made even better by the feeling of Paris it resurrected.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Perspycacious: Thanks so much for your comments. I am thrilled the feeling of Paris came through as it has been years and years since I have been there LOL! It is such a special city I guess you never forget it once you have been there. Thanks so much for reading this and I am so pleased you enjoyed it.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A beautifully written story with such great energy here you got into this one with a perfect sense. You drew me in with such feeling.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

DDE: Thank you so much and I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this. When I looked at the photo of the girl sipping coffee at the cafe, it reminded me of me. Although, this particular incident did not happen to me specifically, my imagination took me all over Paris as I wrote this. I love the 'city of lights' and this was story was a fun way of remembering the city. Thanks so much for your visit and comments. Most appreciated.


Bk42author profile image

Bk42author 2 years ago from New York

Love this story...especially as it takes place in Paris! I love that city! My goal is for my husband and I to live there fir a year or so in the (hopefully) not to distant future! Voted up!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, my goodness, Suzette, How had I missed this amazing flash fiction short story here from three months ago! I was there via your words. Paris, truly is the city of love. You are truly a brilliant writer. After high school I was supposed to go to Paris, but alas that did not happen. I can be there through your writing. Really great ending too. Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, for their scent is so intoxicating. Your choice of imagery is perfect in setting the tone for this piece.

Up and more and sharing

Blessings,

Faith Reaper


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

Beautifully told love story. Thank you for sharing. Jamie


savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago

Lovely, especially in lieu of the fact that so often lovers just quit altogether, after a spat.. never to know the true love that may have been. We've all been there...

But not this time. I'm so glad that her lover realized his mistake. The added touch of a gardenia was especially touching. I love that particular flower. When I was young, I would wear them in my hair.

Wonderful job. I loved this short story.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Bk42author: Oh, I highly recommend living there for a year. I haven't been to Paris in quite a few years, but it is such a romantic and beautiful city to experience. And, it is a great city for writers. I hope to see you writing from there one day. Thanks so much for reading my story and I am so pleased you enjoyed it.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Hi Faith: There is so much going on here at hub pages it is hard to keep up with everyone's latest hub sometimes! I am so glad you read this and enjoyed it. Well, I think you got married instead of going to Paris. It's a great city for a second honeymoon though. I'll bet you'll get there someday. I am glad you liked the ending -- I had different endings thought out and went with this one. I love gardenias too. Thanks so much for your comments and for your visit. I always enjoy a Faith Reaper visit.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jamie: Thanks so much for reading this and for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed this.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

saavydating: I enjoyed your comments here. Yes, in this day and age, couples give up so easily, sometimes. Although, in writing we can have happy endings. So glad you enjoyed reading this. Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers and I wanted this touch rather than a rose. Thanks so much for reading this and for your insightful comments. Most appreciated.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

I love happy endings:)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

grand old lady: Don't we all love happy endings. I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments.


Jasdeep-Singh profile image

Jasdeep-Singh 2 years ago from (Punjab) India

This is amazing and heartfelt...so are you (Suzette). I loved this and Thank you very much.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jasdeep: Thank you so much for your kind comments. I truly appreciate them. I am so pleased you enjoyed this short story. My many travels have inspired me to write.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Aww, I loved this story, especially the ending. Looks like both of the lovers had time to think. Very well written and enjoyable. I'll share this all over Suzette. Have a great evening.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very well done! This 'flash-fiction' genre is new to me, and I wasn't sure I'd like it. But you have painted an eloquent picture in a brief few paragraphs. I was entranced.

Voted up, interesting and awesome.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Minnetonka: Thank you so much for the shares and I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this story. I enjoyed writing it. So glad you like a happy ending. LOL!


georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 2 years ago from India

Paris is one city that I would love to visit whenever I get a chance. But so far I have not visited this place and eagerly waiting for an opportunity..


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

georgescifo: Thank your so much for reading my story and I am so pleased you enjoyed it. I visited Paris about 30 years ago and what a wonderful time I had. Those memories and experiences are still with me today. Thanks for your visit. Most appreciated.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 20 months ago from North Carolina

Suzette,

Back for a second read. Loving this story a second time. Trying to get a better feel for flash fiction and you do it so well.

Happy Sunday!

Kim


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 20 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Kim: Thanks so much for the second read. I am glad you enjoyed this and hope you are having a happy Sunday also. Hugs!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 20 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Kim: Thanks so much for the second read. I am glad you enjoyed this and hope you are having a happy Sunday also. Hugs!


ZeldaMes profile image

ZeldaMes 20 months ago from South Africa

Thanks for a very enjoyable 'visit to Paris'!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 20 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Zelda: So glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for stopping by.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 20 months ago from Lincolnshire, England

A sad story well told Suzette with a surprise turnaround for your character Sophie at the close; moody and atmospheric photos contrasted with the simple beauty of the gardenia flower was a nice touch reflecting her hope permeated with a nostalgic ' Breakfast at Tiffany's ' vibe.

Lovely.

Thank you and best wishes for a pleasant week;

R.Q.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 20 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Romeos: Thank you so much for your lovely comments and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. You have a unique view of this story and I appreciate your insight.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago

A wonderful story Suzette, glad the storm cloud blew over and Raymond came back.

Thumbs-up UABI and shared

Blessings


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 15 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Aww, sweet. Very nice story and very well written.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 15 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Shyron: Thanks so much for reading my story and I am so glad you enjoyed it.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 15 months ago from Taos, NM Author

rebecca: Thanks so much for reading my story and I am pleased you enjoyed it.

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