Rewrite: Take any poem or short story you enjoy. Rewrite it in your own words.
That night was the first time Deb had left the house in months. Mom and dad were happy to see that finally, she was letting herself live. Not a lot of twenty-three-year-olds devoted their life to their studies quite as much as she did, and they were starting to think that their high expectations back when we were still in collège or lycée had permanently ruined her. It was true, though, that they had planted that seed, that thirst of knowledge, of hard work. They’d always led by example, and that was how, after putting in a lot of sleepless nights, sweat, tears, you name it, they now held one of the best cafés in town, and everybody would come to read a book, drink a cappuccino, or simply to listen to the live music that played every Friday after six. Not that Friday, though. For the first time ever, mom and dad had decided to close the café on Friday. It had been a hard decision but well thought out. Yes, they’d lose a lot of money, but they’d probably make it up the next weekend with a three-day music and food festival they had been planning.
Deb convinced them to close the café that Friday, moved by what she could only call a premonition. For three consecutive days, she had been having this horrible dream of a terrasse being shot at time and time again with an automated rifle, or a gun, she couldn’t really tell. She was never superstitious, none of us were, but it was the second time something like that happened in her lifetime. The first time, it was when she was thirteen and she had a dream, also three consecutive days, that our grandma had died, all the way back in Dallas. And sure enough, right after those three days of dreams, we got the call. It all happened the way she’d said, also, all the way down to the time indicated in the microwave clock when we got the call.
This time, though, it hadn’t been so clear, there were no such details, just graphic images that kept playing in her mind. It was a crowded terrasse, that much she knew, and it looked a lot like ours. Friday 13th was coming up and, even without being superstitious, it was true that it wasn’t something easy to brush off. So Deborah pleaded, asked them, begged them. And, lastly, she used the one thing she knew would make them give in: she told them she wouldn’t go to the Eagles concert at the Bataclan. Instead, she’d be there at the café to make sure nothing happened. They weren’t about to let her do that. She had been planning for that concert for months, bought the tickets right after they became available, and it was the first thing she was going to do in a while. Her internship at a lab of a cosmetic firm, although prestigious, was taking a lot of her time, and mom and dad were sometimes worried she was forgetting herself a little.
“Okay,” Mom had said that Wednesday, over dinner, “just go to your concert, we’ll close the café. After all, we have two weekends coming up that look like it’s going to be a full house, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem.”
“It’s okay,” she said, “I’m gonna stay anyway, you know, since Mario is not coming to the concert anymore.”
But Mario was going alright, just not with her. They had broken up not long ago, right before the dreams started, so mom used to say the dream might be nothing more than a creative way of her brain to process the emotion of the breakup. After all, that shooting could also mean Mario killing her dreams of one day having something more serious together. It was farfetched, and it was mom’s first try, and it didn’t work.
“Go, Debbie,” Dad said. “You’ve been waiting for this day for months.”
“Rock is more of Mario’s thing,” she argued. “I think I passed that phase already.”
“Don’t be silly,” Mom said. “You worked very hard to get the money. Plus you’ll get distracted, forget about the whole thing. Cécile is going, too, right?” Deb nodded and mom went on, “there you go, just stay with her.”
“I guess,” she muttered under her breath and gave a faint smile.
“Just make sure you wear your prettiest clothes,” mom added and winked at her in such a way that she made everybody at the table laugh.
And when the day came, she did dress in her best clothes. Tight black jeans, a band t-shirt, and her best basquettes. The one thing she was struggling with, was accessories. Yes, Debbie wasn’t exactly the most fashionable person, that was an understatement, she was a little bit the garçon manqué de la famille, at least until Mario came around, but that day she tried. She raided my jewelry box.
“I thought you’d be working late tonight,” she told me when I caught her red-handed.
“Not really, no. Mom and dad wanted me to help them move some stuff around here since the cafe won’t be open tonight.”
“Oh, cool,” she said and started to shyly move away. “I guess they want to keep busy, huh?”
“Were you trying to find something in particular?” I asked her.
“Maybe earrings, or a real cool necklace?”
“Sure,” I said, looking around.
There was something about her that didn’t seem right, but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. I took out a necklace with a single diamond pendant and gave it to her.
“Il s’appelle reviens, though,” I told her. “It’s my favorite.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll bring it back sain et sauf. Do you have the earrings qui vont avec?”
“Yeah, sure. Everything okay?”
“No, not really,” she said.
“Is it about tonight? Don’t worry, it’s just a dream, Debs, nothing will happen.”
“No, it’s not about that dream, but it is about tonight.”
I was always very cautious with how I asked her questions. She’d always been very secretive, shy, and there wasn’t a lot she’d share with us about her life.
“I’m going with Mario,” she added, but the tone she used for it, sad, distant, confused me.
“Well that’s great, isn’t it? Why didn’t you tell us that you made up?”
There was silence, then she looked down at her fingers, nervously tapping against her knee.
“We never broke up,” she said, her voice flat.
“Okay,” I said, not sure about what else to say.
“It’s Céline I broke up with.”
“Oh,” I let out, not too sure about what else I could say. “Do you wanna—”
“Talk about it, you mean? No, no, not now at least.”
“Do you wanna tell Mom and Dad?”
“No, I don’t, but maybe I should at some point.” She sighed, “that’s why Céline broke up with me.”
“Tired of being the best friend?”
I looked at her, as I handed her the earrings. I cupped her hands in mine.
“I know this can be hard, but please go and have fun. We’ll talk about it when you get back, I promise.”
She smiled and hugged me, then said some words that I couldn’t quite understand, followed by a shy thank you. I promised her everything would be alright as I saw her leave the room. A couple of minutes later, I heard the front door close.