When I wandered into the cafe, I felt like I had been transported back in time to my college days.
There were odd posters and paintings from local artists on the walls. The furniture, mismatched and awkward suited the overall thrown-together feel of the place. It was an open planned room with a stage, random fixtures and glass vases of odd shapes and sizes on the shelves. A cuddly-toy bunny sat abandoned on a window sill. The place seemed to say, pull up a chair, make yourself at home, I’m not really fussed, I’m too busy being a tortured artist.
When I entered the cafe, it was sunny outside, summer having just arrived made me wish I had a place to sit and write with a beer and some colourful company to look at, away from the corporate types that litter my usual part of the city. The cafe offered one, anyway. On it’s menu I could choose from coffees in all shapes and sizes and every free-trade tea imaginable, but no alcohol. I opted for Earl Grey and my reaction to getting no lemon and a splash of milk made me realise was heading towards becoming a middle aged and suited snob. Oh dear, I thought. Best knock that attitude on the head and just enjoy the solitude.
I dragged a chair over to a table in the corner and with tea and journal in hand, settled in to write. The characters in the room were full of colour. No one wore black or anything resembling a suit. Nothing grey, nothing that would fit in at a meeting. Just a rainbow of colours from the hair on down to their Birkenstocks.
When I was at university, my favourite place was a mirror of the cafe where I sat writing. It was called the “Fleur de Lis”. My friends and I met there every night to discuss our projects, listen to local musicians and impromptu poetry readings. Even I found the nerve to spout a verse or two, back before the self-consciousness of public speaking settled in. It was a place where we were all freaks and weirdos, all wanting to stand out as unique, where we were all going to be Shakespeares and Mozarts, Hemingways and Picassos.
The conservative town where it had found it’s own little corner didn’t approve of the comings and goings of the Fleur de Lis’ clientele. When it was time for the young couple who ran the Fleur de Lis to renew their licence, it was refused. It was handed over to a retired cop who turned our home into a tea house with white doilies and cucumber sandwiches. Our club house was gone and we all had to move on.
When I graduated, I wanted to have something with which to remember those happy days of creativity. So, when the chance came to immortalise that place and the memories it carried, I thought of the proper tribute. With a friend in tow, I handed the artist my drawing and leaned on the table. The sting of the needle didn’t bother me at all, and now I have a reminder that isn’t going anywhere without surgery…
Writing Prompt: The Room
Describe a room and the personality it conveys. Have fun, leave nothing out.