A spring rain fell all morning bring with it relief from the heat and the red dust that chokes our café, turning our white tablecloths a pale rust. Early afternoon when the rains stop, my father and I rush to set tables, chairs, and fresh tablecloths around the café patio.

Today my father assures me, “One day Sanjay, you will inherit this café from me and care for me the way I care for you.” He turns away from me to spread a table-cloth, but I know his eyes are glassy with memories of my mother, so he quickly laughs to hide himself saying, “Yes, I can see you now Sanjay, A young man married with a plump wife who will care for us both, and perhaps, god willing, bear your children and my grandchildren.” He tells me this last part ruffling my brown-black hair, exchanging his sorrow for the wide smile of an optimist, and I am happy for us both.

Patrons begin to arrive and we are both busy. My father’s café is walking distance from the train station, and it shares a wall with the Commissioner’s Office. “Easy protection in a violent town,” my father says.

The door to the Commissioner’s Office closes hard, and my father pushes me quickly to wait on the Commissioner and his friends. The Commissioner come for tea every afternoon. Once he asked me if I could read, but I shook my head no.

“Do you plan to live here always Sanjay?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Don’t you want to go to school? Go to the university and study?”
“No,” I said.
“Good boy.”

My father helps me balance a tray of eight tea glasses, and I weave my way through the near empty café to the Commissioner’s table. The conversation is tense and hushed.
“It is true? Did the opposition push for a vote of confidence, parliament dissolved, and new elections called?” the Commissioner asked.
“Yes,” said one of the commissioner’s friends.


The Trifecta Challenge: confidence (noun)


21 thoughts on “Café

  1. I like how you weaved the different elements together, and with so many emotions involved. This feels like the beginning to a much bigger piece so I’m curious to see how those elements would develop. 🙂

  2. This is always such an interesting plot element to me –the child’s desires and the parents desires for them (and when the do or don’t align).

    Great piece of flash! 🙂

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read Writerlious. I think this idea is too big for 333 words.
      P.S. I enjoy reading the interviews on your blog. I hope the interviews continue.

  3. I agree with the comment that this feels like part of a much bigger piece. I can see this as a flashback to the main characters life as a small boy (Man, I could picture that little outdoor cafe)
    Flash forward years later and he is the ambitious young politician. Interesting.

    1. I’m glad you find this challenge piece interesting, but I think it is just a beginning. I am collecting these challenge stories, really half finished ideas, as a catalog of story ideas to develop and refine into more complete stories. Sometimes, like this challenge, just getting something out there is a work enough for me.

    1. Ultimately, I want the expectation to come from not just the father, but culture and the Commissioner…more thinking and writing. I’m glad I was able to paint a picture with words for you to see the café.

  4. Your dialogue and details are great. Then the conversation at the end gives us a hint of what the future might hold. I could see it all and that is what makes for great writing.

  5. That first paragraph had me hooked. It’s a great description of environment in which they lived. The devotion the son has for his father is clear and I love when he says ‘and I was happy for us both’. It seems like a pivotal scene in the young boy’s life and perhaps the overheard conversation has given him a glimpse of what life could be like if he decided to go his own way. I’d like to see where you take this one. Thanks for linking up.

  6. Great work! The struggle of family obligations vs personal goals is a struggle for many people and cultures, especially in today’s society. You captured it perfectly, and gave us something to think about.

  7. There’s such a wonderful tension here–I wonder what decisions the child will make. Great story!

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