Monday, July 28, 2014

The Blue Room Cafe: Novel in Progress

“It was a warm night in June when I arrived at where you live. Calling it a house would be a mistake. I met you at The Blue Room Cafe.”

Right now I’m in the stages of writing the rough draft for a short novel entitled The Blue Room Cafe. It’s a slice of life of novel with a little drama.

The two main characters are Danielle and Amelie. Danielle is recent high school graduate who is totally unsure of what to do when it comes to choosing a college. So after graduating high school she takes a year break from academics to work at The Blue Room Cafe, which is not only a cafe but is also a boarding house for creative young women.

While there she meets Amelie. Out of all the girls at the cafe, Amelie has lived there the longest. She’s always working on some elaborate project and somehow sucks everyone into helping her with it.

My favorite part of the novel so far is when Amelie discovers The Blue Room Cafe for the first time. Here is an excerpt of the rough draft. Since this is just a rough draft, it’ll probably change a bit before the story’s all done. It’s written from Danielle’s point of view: 

I sent in online resumes for about a month. In that time I became convinced that I was actually shooting my resume into a black hole. So I decided to take a more hands-on approach. I printed out a few copies of my resume and stacked them in a manila folder. I am personally going to those managers and asking for job.

There were many businesses I could start with that were near my neighborhood, but there was a problem: I knew too many people. Too many people recognized me from volleyball games and yearbook. What if my former classmates, coming home from college for winter vacation, saw me working at a fast food place? What if they asked me what school I was going to?

I could just say that I’m working through college. But I can’t lie! I can’t! At best, I can hide the truth, and you see how well that went.

The best way to avoid humiliation was to find somewhere to work that’s not so close to home. Right when I thought of it, I knew where that place was.

After school on a Thursday, I had my dad drop me off at the train station. I took the train to Winter Park. The station's right on Park Avenue, and at that time I believed that Park Avenue would be the perfect place for me to work. It’s a classic small downtown area with all kinds of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. There’s an art museum and a shady, relaxing park...I could already see myself sitting at an outdoor table at a restaurant and ordering a bowl of soup during lunch break.

However, once I arrived there and started looking for a business I could comfortably approach, anxiety started to set in. Is it okay for me to just walk into a place and ask for a job, or should they have a “Now Hiring” sign? Maybe I should simply ask if they’re hiring. But would that make me look stupid? Naive? Desperate?

I knew not everyone was going to say yes, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle hearing no. And what if the managers I asked were mean? Well if they were, I wouldn’t want to work for them anyways.

As I walked down the street uneasily looking at the shops I passed I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could just throw all of these resumes into air, and then they could just flutter across the street and on top of cars and into shop doorways. Then maybe someone with a heart would get the chance to read it and give me a job.

As all of these paranoid thoughts raced through my head, I heard an unsettling crunch come from under my right ballet shoe. The yellow goo oozing from under my foot left me with no doubt. I had stepped on an egg.

The unfortunate egg came from an elderly woman who had tripped and fell in front of me less than half a second earlier. She was carrying a paper bag full of grocery which was now smashed on the sidewalk. She was less that five feet away, but it didn’t strike me as something noteworthy until I stepped on the egg.

I know what it’s like to have a clumsy moment totally ruin your day, so in no time I was asking her if she was okay. Without asking she took hold of my arm and hoisted herself up from the ground, warping the sleeve of my cardigan. After she was back on her feet, I fixed the sleeve.

“Are you alright?”

“Don’t worry,” she said, while rubbing her backside. “But it’s going to be a pain getting these groceries home.”

She bent down unsteadily to pick up a tomato. I stopped her.

“No. I’ll get that.”

I didn’t feel like seeing another accident. The eggs were a total loss and a few potatoes had rolled across the busy street, but I was able to recover a large bag of rice, three tomatoes, a block of cheese, an onion, a bunch of bananas, and a tube of toothpaste. I carried all of her grocery in my arms like a baby wrapped in the remains of the brown paper bag. I held the folder full of resumes in my mouth.

I was expecting to follow her into an apartment building, but instead she walked off of the main street and into a tiny courtyard. Although I’ve never visited Europe before, for some reason it fitted into what I imagined some buildings in Europe would look like. Elegantly aged white buildings framed the courtyard, and a white fountain gurgled in the middle. Delicately curved wrought iron grills decorated the first and second story windows. One of the shops had a large chalkboard easel standing out front.

Today’s Special: Strawberry Peppermint Mocha

The door was open, and I could hear soft music coming out accompanied by a soothing voice. Above the door was a sign.

The Blue Room Café

That’s where the older woman went in. And I followed her.