Paris Dreaming


Jun. 10th 1886, Paris

It was a lovely summer dawn. Avenue des Champs-Elysees was full of people.     Henri Matisse had just finished his dinner and hurried to enter the Sharon; he would try his best to show how strongly he felt about color. At the same time, Claude Monet was still standing in his garden, observing the changes of the lingering light of the setting sun. Vincent van Gogh had just came to Paris; everything to him was so fresh and vivid. It seemed that he found a right place. Paris! The city of art! There were so many dawns   like this, with countless spirits crashing into each other or just brewing in silence. It was so real that even hundreds of years later, the Paris of that moment in time still existed someone’s heart.


Jun.10th 2016, a simple Northwestern City in China

It was the most anticipated day for Chinese students. Having prepared for twelve    years, the College Entrance Examination was underway. The weather was getting hotter   and hotter. She wore a simple white camisole while cowering herself, staring at the      setting sun. The yellow sun light reminded her of Veertien Zonnebloemen In Eenvaas, one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous works. She sighed slightly. She didn’t want to think more about her future. What should she do? Where should she go? Was there anything she could devote all of her life to? In the past, she had struggled for the final exam for so many years. Everyone, teachers, parents, her classmates, told her to study harder, to   seize the chance, but nobody told her or helped her to think what it was that she really  fought for. She was just a simple girl, lived in a simple city, had a simple family, and was neither clever nor stupid enough to stand out. She knew little about Art; she could   draw only a little now because she had put it aside for a long time, but since her     mother had taken her to the painting studio when she was five years old, Art had been  planted in her heart. Like many Art learners, Paris was her dream and would always be  her dream. She could feel it when she looked at Picasso’s masterpieces, it felt just like  she was in Paris with him. But the truth was, the dream was ridiculous, for her.

So she chose to escape; she chose to sleep, but Paris was still with her. She fell asleep quickly; she had a dream. In the dream, she was walking along on an unfamiliar road. The road was paved with slabs, and the street lamps were shining. Nobody was on this road; she could hear noise from far away, the sounds that people make, but where were they and where was she

Suddenly, she heard the sound of a car. A car, full of young people, stopped beside her. “Come on! Join us! Get on the car!” an enthusiastic young man said.

 “But where are you going?”

“Oh, don’t question it; seize the moment!” They opened the door, and she got in the car, uneasy but excited. They finally arrived at a café. A middle aged man was standing at the door. “Welcome!” he said and held the young man’s hand, “Henry Matisse! What brings you here?” Henry Matisse! That one who called her to join them was Henry Matisse! She was shocked. She looked around, “But what? Paris! This is Paris!” Young people on the road were wearing early 20th Century fashion, the bubble car, the café…all in Parisian style! She pinched herself and a feeling of pain surged. This was real! She, now, in Paris, with Matisse, real! Then she walked into the café. It was already full of people. But it was evident that they were all artists; painters, writers, sculptors…everyone were enjoying their sherry; no one noticed her. She went to a small room. She saw Matisse trying to persuade someone’s opinion of color. She found an old man standing alone; he didn’t talk to anyone, and it seemed that he was thinking about something. “Excuse me , I wonder if I’m bothering you, but I’m new here so…”

He turned his face to her. It was a strict face with deep grey eyes and wrinkles on his corner of his mouth. “When color reached until a certain degree, the shape is complete,” He talked as if he was murmuring to himself. She finally realized who she was talking to was Paul Cezanne. At that moment she decided to seize this chance, she took her heart of grace and said, “Well…I’ve admired you for a long time, I…”

But he suddenly looked at the door. A young man was there, both exhaustion and excitement were on his face, but all of these emotions could not cover up certain sadness; it seemed that melancholy had been with him for a long time. He had blond curly hair, beautiful but untidy. His deep blue eyes seemed to have the ability to talk. He was new here, too. No one knew him. He began to look around at the artists, the paintings, and the room. “Who are you?” He finally noticed her, “It seems that you are not same as them; it seems that you do not belong to this period.” He looked at her with his gentle eyes. Her heart beat so fast, but she tried hard to control herself. “Maybe,” she smiledbut in some aspects, I’m same as all of you; I had a dream of Art and Paris. But the environment I lived in seemed not to give me the chance to reach it.

He listened to her without saying a word; a few minutes later he said, “I came to Paris to live with my brother and my friend, Theo van Gogh, and to try to inspire my spirit in this way. You said you don’t have the chance, but have you ever known that if you have that heart, then you can do it. You may never know who I am because my paintings are not well accepted. But for me, I just do it; I just paint no matter what fate does to me. That’s why I regard Art as my life.” He finished his words, but she just too excited to say a word. She was deeply moved; an idea came to her mind that she must hold on her dream, like Vincent had just told her, for all of these years, she had regarded him as her example. Now his word firmed her faith of chasing her teenage dream no matter what would happen. Of course, she knew who he was; he was Vincent van Gogh, but he was still young; he hadn’t painted his most famous works, but she knew he would. She also knew after he came to Paris, his painting style would change because of being deeply influenced by the Modernists. And her dream came true, she was just encouraged by her idle!

 “Excuse me…? Are you okay?”

“Yes…I am!She said, “Why not take a walk with me; I’d like to talk to you about my new work.” They walked along the street, talking about everything, happily. Then, he pointed to a café terrace and said That may be my next work.She smiled, because she knew that finished painting would be hanging on her wall. Maybe because the air of Paris was full of romance, or maybe she had lost her head because Vincent was beside her, everything began to obscure…

When she woke up in the morning, she found herself in her own bedroom; Paris, Van Gogh and the Café terrace all faded away. She lay on the bed with indescribable feeling in her heart. Then she got out of the bed and looked at the picture The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night hanging on her wall. Suddenly, she found herself in it, a girl with same dress and haircut. She was painted into it! At that moment, she could not move. She began to fall into endless wonder, if Paris was real for her, or just in her wildest dreams…


English name: Josephine  Chinese name: 李雨芯  Student number: 160110290