Friday Fictioneers – Le Café des Parapluies

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Les Parapluies 180919

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Le Café des Parapluies

I sat on the terrace of the Café des Parapluies, fiddling with my phone and staring out into the night. Should I ring my daughter, let her know the good news? I’d pushed her away during my illness; I’d thought it might spare her pain.

I glanced at the man at the next table. He was tall, and although his hair was silver he looked fit. And kind. I needed kindness.

He smiled.

“Bonsoir, Madame.”

He paused, then suggested “Make the call”.

I raised my eyebrows – then nodded. He was right; the cancer was gone.

I had a future again.

84 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Le Café des Parapluies

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I’m sure once she talks properly to her daughter they will reconcile, and their love will be the stronger for what they each learn about the other.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  1. First, the word parapluie has to be the most fantastic French word ever, right?

    Second, i have a French restaurant in mine too, though its in the US. Apropos of nothing. 😊

    Finally this was one of those stories that leaves you feeling both happy and sad. Happy, that she is connecting with her daughter, but sad, that that connection was once lost, and at a time when it could have done the mother a great deal of good to have her daughters help and support. I hope they can mend their differences and that her daughter can convince her that she wants to help her bear her sorrow as well as her joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andi
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree that parapluie is a wonderful word!
      I’m very pleased that you felt mixed emotions when you read my story because you’re quite right, both happiness and sadness are present. I’m sure that once she sits down with her daughter and explains (and apologises!) for the way she behaved, they’ll be able to grow close again.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Priya,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you felt the hope in my story. The stranger was kind – and quite brave, too, I think – to speak out when he did.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Bernadette,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I think that when mother and daughter have had time to talk everything through they’ll have a much better understanding of each other, and a much stronger love. The phone call is a good first step.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Brenda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. The mysterious kind guy is just someone who had noticed the woman and found her interesting and attractive. When she glances at him, he feels that she’s almost asking for advice, so he gives it. I think this could be the start of the rest of the narrator’s life, don’t you?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Michael
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you picked up on the challenging relationships. They’re a very important part of the woman’s back-story. She is rather a difficult woman. Her response to adversity is to retreat into herself and push people away. Her first husband found this too wearing and divorced her. Then, when she was diagnosed with cancer, and her daughter tried to help her, she deliberately pushed her away.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s amazing how moving a story can be in just a handful of words. Sometimes we do need somebody to gently push us in the right direction. And I really like that the narrator specifically notices fitness, in the original sense of the word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jilly
      Thank you for reading and commenting so appreciatively. Your comment that the story is moving is worth its weight in laughter and tears.
      The way our decisions are influenced can be very mysterious, can’t it?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

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  3. I loved this, Penny. So many times people push loved ones away when facing a medical crisis. We are not really sparing them pain, only making their suffering (and ours) worse. The think the old bearded man was really an angel sent to confirm the right decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you especially for sharing your own knowledge of why it is mistaken to shut loved ones out of our pain. I’m glad you enjoyed my story.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Pandora
      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. Sometimes we need a third party who isn’t involved to stir us into action – and, thank goodness, sometimes we have one.
      I feel sure mother and daughter will repair their relationship and make it stronger even than it was before.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

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    • Dear Linda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re lucky to have such a perceptive daughter. Now that she has hope again, I think my narrator will find the grace to apologise to her daughter and restore the relationship.
      BTW I loved your story this week – little Zang going round singing ‘Pretty! Pretty!’ Beauty is such an important part of life isn’t it?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear MSW
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, the man had seen her fiddling with the phone – in fact, he’d noticed that she’d started to dial twice and then put the phone down again.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Stuart
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say,she was fiddling with her phone; in her back story she even started dialling twice, and then stopped herself and put the phone down.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Dahlia
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. Maybe you’re right about an absence of baggage with a stranger; those close to us know us well enough to anticipate our actions, and their own responses are ready even before we’ve finished speaking…Thank you for saying that the story is nicely crafted.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sascha
      Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s often fascinating to watch people on their own in a café. Their guard is often down, and you can see the play of emotions on their face. (Do I sit and stare? Well, yes!)
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  4. It is strange how just be seeing how much she wanted to make that call, that he advised her correctly. He didn’t need to know the details, but from his own experience he could tell it was important. Loved the connection between the two strangers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fatima
      I’m sorry I missed your comment at first. Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, it’s rather wonderful when you meet someone who is genuinely empathetic, isn’t it? Sometimes it can almost seem like telepathy, although it isn’t of course.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Deborah
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I rather enjoyed writing the story. I sat at one of my favourite cafes in France, beside the patinoire, watched the skaters a bit, looked at the shadows under the pines that line the Calvaire, and watched the woman fiddle with her phone…
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

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