“I am out with lanterns looking for myself.” ― Emily Dickinson
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April 30, 2018

Zealous Nighthawks

'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper
Fiction: Zealous Nighthawks

01
She enters the cafe and sits down at her usual spot at the bar and orders black coffee. She runs a hand over her lap to smooth out her dress the color of her red hair. She used to be a blonde until someone told her she looked cheap. She often wonders why she tries to change herself when nothing really could change her. During the day, she often thought herself as rather awkward and graceless but the nights are different. Just after 2 a.m., she would walk the few blocks to the cafe. It has become a habit. A bad habit, she sometimes thinks. She picks out a match and flicks it against the side of the box and lights his cigarette. She takes in the scent. They had agreed not to bother with names but she sometimes wishes she had not brought up the idea. Now and then, when she looks into his eyes, a wild thought would come to her – what if he would snuffs out his cigarette, takes her hands and begs her to run away with him? But the though always fades away just like everything else. She knows she can never belong to him, never during the day. But the nights – they all belong to her. Nights like these always belong to her. Tonight as she ponders at the matchbox in her hand, she wishes this night will never end.

02
He tries not to look at her too often. She is a nighttime beauty in red, someone he could never have in his life. Not when his wife suffers so. Poor dear. He wishes he could fix all her ailments but Mary just keeps on as if she wishes no end to her suffering. Once, someone had remarked that Mary is a martyr and he had almost agreed with them but then he remembered he is Mary's husband. But upon hearing the word, he knew it is quite true. Mary could have someone else or she could have lived a rich life with her family's money. But she had married a poor artist. Why? He is not so sure now sitting beside this redhead that he dare not love. There have been nights he wishes she would love him. And then day comes and he knows even if she does love him, he could not love her back. Not as long as Mary lives and she means to live a long life. He sucks on his cigarette and breathes in. As he releases a breath, he almost wishes he would just wink out of the living. But the night opens up as if the world is growing. When daylight comes, he will cease to enjoy this nighthawk existence.

closeup of 'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper
03
He is just like them but he refuses to admit it. He knows them as his regular customers and that is all. They're not his business but he sometimes thinks he knows too much about them to think of them as strangers. He suspects, although they know his name and face, they would hardly care to think of him. But he likes it that way. He doesn't want to get entangled in their lives. He have too much vexing him to care about other people's problems. But they have always come, one after another – the woman who always show up in red, the man in the hat who only takes a drag of his cigarette and never finishes it, and the man who puts too much sugar into his coffee and then reorders a fresh cup. Now and then, he thought he felt sympathy for them but the feeling dissipates as the night wears on. The night always wears on. It's during these hours that he can rejoice in not having any memories or thoughts of home. He can be a smudge of existence and not care. He can serve cup after cup of coffee and not wonder what was and what should have been and nothing more. He is one of them – a nighthawk. But he refuses to admit it.

a to z challenge 2018
Check out the April A-Z Challenge blog here >

22 comments:

  1. Great post on one of my favorite paintings. Thanks for visiting Buttercupland. Please stop by often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks. & thanks for your visit. have a lovely day.

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  2. Replies
    1. thank you. & thanks for your visit. have a lovely day.

      Delete
  3. I've seen this picture before - where did you use it??
    Interesting story. I wonder how long an affair like this might go on, and PS: Mary may be sick but not stupid, the husband leaving every night coming home smelling of smoke and most probably the redhead's perfume..?

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    1. this artwork is well known so you have seen this anywhere. I don't think I have used it for any posts but I have used a lot of Eward Hopper's works and they are mostly like this - bare, lonely, very few people.

      I don't see this as two people having an affair, my story is more about things that are not done, just people thinking about possibilities but doing nothing about them.

      thanks for your visit. have a lovely day.

      Delete
    2. I didn't read that as the man having an affair at all. To me it was more a story of desolation and loneliness and his distance from the woman sitting beside him.

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    3. Hopper's painting are like that - loneliness, desolation, I just tell the story that I think is there.

      thanks for visiting. have a lovely day.

      Delete
  4. These are wonderful :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you. thanks for visiting. have a lovely day.

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  5. I have always loved this painting, and I am SO glad to read your take on the "players."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I just wrote what I thought.

      thanks for visiting. have a lovely day.

      Delete
  6. Hey Lissa. All three points of view are fascinating.
    I really like this : "He can be a smudge of existence and not care." It reads like art work.
    Congratulations on completing the A to Z. Your lyrical stories and artwork have a haunting quality.
    It has been a delight to come by your blog this April.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. it's also a delight to read your a-z posts.

      thanks for visiting. have a lovely day.

      Delete
  7. Each one intriguing, kept my attention and took me back in time, as though it were an old good movie.

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    1. the painting is like a movie itself.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  8. Each point of view is fascinating. I wish I had been available to finish the challenge and read more of your posts. I've bookmarked your blog so I can read the rest of your A to Z post this month when things are not so hectic. I hated that I had to bow out. It was such a hard choice to make. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you are the winner of a $25 E-Gift Card to Amazon. You were the "closest' to the correct answer in my "mini mystery" for letter J, on my blog for the A to Z challenge. I can't say you actually guessed the actual culprit, but you were the only person who narrowed it down it to the final two. http://www.melissasugarwrites.com/2018/04/letters-h-i-win-25-amazon-gift-card.html.
    I owe you a $25 Gift card. Please send me the email address that you would like the gift card where you would like the gift card e-mailed. Send to sugarlaw13@live.com . Congratulations on winning the the mini mystery and congratulations on completing the A to Z challenge. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your A to Z posts and all of your new posts as well.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have emailed you about this. thanks.

      have a lovely day.

      Delete
  9. AnonymousMay 04, 2018

    It's amazing how your story adds a new dimension to an already complex work of art. It gives each subject a voice and it's an interesting way to share one's interpretation of the piece.

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    1. I think most people sees the same things as I do in this painting - just lonely souls sitting around.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  10. I love the creativity! It's great to read about the different perspectives of the people in the picture. This is so amazing.

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    1. I think this painting has so much to say that made me write these stories.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete

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