A Parisian Day – Paris Street, a rainy day by Gustave Caillebotte

Paris Street, a rainy day by Gustave Caillebotte
Paris Street, a rainy day by Gustave Caillebotte

All that can be heard is the sharp steps of the horseshoes on the wet pavement. The light has dimmed, and the city has silenced. Men and women hold their umbrellas tight. The wind carries humidity, and the cold air penetrates the bones and freezes the entire body. Paris and its dwellers proceed with their journey in the overcast day, protected by the fog and the thin shower of rain. The grey umbrellas add sadness to the atmosphere.

A couple walk and together they look in the same direction. Something on their right has caught their interest. They look curious but not surprised nor afraid. A carriage has stopped abruptly to let a hurried passer-by cross the street, a newspaper vendor shouts the latest stories, or  the woman mentions that a new haberdashery has just opened and both stare with mild interest.

They are on their way to join a friend for coffee. On this rainy Saturday afternoon, neither of them had wanted to leave  the house. She was tidying up the study and the bedroom, while he was practicing his piano. He tried to compose, in the past, but he abandoned the idea for lack of time, and perhaps talent. Too busy to make a decent enough living to be able to reside in the heart of Paris, he decided to play for his own pleasure. She believes he has brilliant piano skills and takes pride in showing off his talent to whoever visits. The decision to live in the city is not hers. She comes from a small village in the South of France, and is accustomed to nature and fresh air. Here, she feels at times claustrophobic, missing her sisters and mother. She also tries to support her husband the best way she can; always concerned with work, she thinks her role is to distract him and surround him with positive thoughts, compassion, and constant encouragement.

This coffee with their friend will do good for their morale. This friend is quite chatty, therefore there won’t be much need for them to entertain. He will have an espresso, and she will sip a café au lait. He will devour a chocolate macaron and she will savour an apple pie while half-listening to their friend’s stories. Accomplices, they will smile at each other with discretion using mischievous eyes, rejoicing each other’s company. They will feel grateful to have one another to share the taste of a pastry, the warmth of a drink, and the cosiness of their relationship; in the gloom and the cold of this Parisian day.



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