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25 Years Online
••• The International Writers Magazine -
Quebec Canada

The Beauty of Saxophones in the Storm
• Lilly Nichols
One windy evening in Quebec City

Sax player

Wind screaming, saxophone singing, papers dancing through the air. The wind fights me as I lug my touristy bags throughout the square. Controlling my body, the wind makes me a mere puppet in the sky’s striking play. My French teacher calls something out, but her voice gets lost in the whipping wind. A determined saxophone player pays no mind as his music sheets scatter across the square, and his lengthy, lustrous hair slaps his watering eyes; the man is completely, utterly unfazed. Everyone else, flooding out of the square, takes note of the wind. Crowds of people scurry into nearby restaurants and shops as my French class stands still. The saxophone’s velvety notes engulf us, floating through the air, drifting by the square’s church with its stained-glass windows, an array of colors like a soft rainbow in the sky. Once the crowd dissipates, I hear my teacher’s voice again.

“Les filles!” My French teacher calls us girls, desperately. Turning towards my teacher, I soak up my last moment of ethereality, as she signals us to retreat from the vicious outdoors. It is June in Québec City, Canada.
No one wants to move an inch. We had finally made it to the square of Place Royale, wanting nothing more than to absorb the drizzling rain sounds, almost rehearsed, as it is so in sync with the soft tune playing in the background. We did, however, have to listen to our teacher. We look one last time at the saxophone player, and reluctantly dart for cover under a nearby checkered awning.

Now the echo of the saxophone is no longer in range, but the melodic French song “JOUR 1” by Louane wafts from a café.

Cafe La Maison Quebec A restaurant beckons. Smelling of spicy lattes and chocolate-filled crepes. Wistfully, I gaze at customers eating artisanal cheese platters and drinking inky wine. My stomach rumbles deafeningly, making my classmate beside me giggle. “Time to eat!” our teacher exclaims to the group, and we walk away from the enthralling square into the iconic Café La Maison.

The cream-colored walls draw attention to the long glass showcase in the center of the room. Buttery croissants, colorful macaroons, soft madeleines, and delicate petits fours fill the case. My mouth watering, I stare at these delicacies, imagining their flaky outsides melting onto my tongue.

As the sharp aromas of the coffee engulf me, I gaze around at the demitasse-sipping customers. One woman, dressed elegantly with talon high heels, struts seductively to the barista to get her coffee. As the French chatter fills my ears, I turn to see Manet and Monet paintings, adorning the walls. I am in an art museum, just a mere observer.

Glancing out the window into the square, I feel sadness enwraps me. Place Royale was one of my grandmother’s favorite sites, and she wanted me to see it before she passed away. If only she could be here. I could have gone with her and seen her face light up, fierce wind and all. She would have laughed at the saxophonist’s hair tousling around, and the people terrified of feeling just a drop of rain. Palace Royal Sq

The warm streetlights twinkle on, casting a faint reflection on the freshly wet cobblestone. Soft smile across my face, I follow my classmates to the line and get ready to order a large latte and flaky croissant. I get a bittersweet smile on my face as I realize I am living out just what my grandmother wanted. Exploring the beauty of Québec City. And simply living.

© Lilly Nichols April 27th 2024
Lilly is a sophomore English and Political Science Major with Writing, Rhetoric and Publication in Dr Devet's class at the College of Charleston.

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