Out of Reach

Paris, March 1912

Jack Dawson felt his usual cheery self, as he walked to the park. His mind fell on the day before when he had caught sight of Monet through a hole in a fence in Giverny. Shaking his head, he set up his work for the day, laying out his leather portfolio in front of him and taking out a piece of paper and began to sharpen a piece of charcoal ready for his first customer. He knew his work was good, but not amazing. The reason he had come to Paris was because it was the art capital of the world and where his inspiration Monet lived. But to Jack's disappointment all the city was now interested in was dottism and cubism whereas Jack drew from life, from his heart and he wasn't about to change his style now. So here he was, just chasing his dream in a small park. The park wasn't very full, it never was. As the day grew, the sun beat down heavier on Jack's face and he wiped his brow with a small cloth he kept in his pocket. He wore navy shirt, and grey trousers with braces. By the time dinner came, he had made two Francs'. He felt his stomach rumble heavily reminding him he hadn't eaten all day, although he decided to wait before eating anything.

It was March of 1912 and Jack had been in Paris now for almost a month. The park which he sat in was on the 'finer side of town'. Full of rich smug men escorting their lady friends on an afternoon stroll perhaps. As much as he couldn't stand them, he knew this was the place where he could make the most money. Once he had been given a full Franc as a tip. Sometimes it had taken Jack days to earn half of that. The upper class people walked on the opposite path from where he was sat almost as though they would catch something if they walked near him. Others glared at his creased clothes and overly long shaggy hair.

Lighting a cigarette, Jack rested back against the bench he was sat on. The afternoon sun was strong and warm. He leant his head back and allowed the sun to beat down on him; he took a deep breath taking in the moment. He could feel the sun burning his skin and beads of sweat formed on his face, he pulled a handkerchief from his pants pocket and wiped it across his forehead. The park where he sat was surrounded by the sea to his left and several set back buildings which he assumed to be hotels. A silver Renault drove around the road next to the park and stopped just outside one of the larger buildings. Taking another puff from his cigarette, Jack heard a very loud slam of a door. Standing immediately, he saw a young redhead emerge from the car. Her complexion was pale and she wore no hat like the young women around these parts did in the afternoon sun. Her expression was blank and he could see the sadness on her face, almost like a figure from a romantic novel, sad and isolated. A maid emerged from the car carrying several boxes. Jack didn't know why he was so curious about this girl. She didn't seem to notice him and it was a good thing with how intently he was staring. The girl handed a box to the young girl Jack assumed to be her maid before walking away from the car. Jack watched as her red hair bobbed until she was out of sight. For just a moment, Jack thought of following her to see if she was alright but then he realised how crazy he would seem. He shook his head free of all thoughts and allowed himself to concentrate on the day's work.

Collecting up his charcoal, Jack wrapped them away in the piece of material which he kept them in. He closed his portfolio and lit the cigarette which was dangling from his mouth. It was nine in the evening and he knew he had stayed longer than he should. It was now too dark to do anything. A young man on stilts passed Jack as he nodded a small hello, he lit two of the gas lamps within the park and Jack watched as the area was given an eerie glow. Jack continued to watch the man until the flame he carried was small in the distance. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money he had made. Three Francs. It was enough for a decent meal that evening.

''How many times have I warned you Rose! Your mother was worried!'' A loud male voice came forcefully. Jack glanced behind him to see a 30ish looking man coming in the direction of the park. He was obviously rich and dressed like a penguin. Jack diverted his eyes so not to glance directly at the man. He opened his portfolio on his knee and pretended to be engrossed in something. He had a girl with the grabbed by the forearm, trying to somewhat force her into a black vehicle. Jack identified her as the girl he had seen earlier. Intrigued, Jack leant forward from the bench he was resting against. He frowned as the girl visibly struggled to escape his grip. He hadn't seen her face properly yet, but he could hear her muffled sobs a few feet away. Leaning back against the bench, he puffed on his cigarette again and then threw it to the ground and stood on the butt end. Finally, the young girl looked up. As she did, Jack gasped. Even in the dark, he knew she was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on. His heart sunk wishing in some way he could help this girl.

''Get into the car Rose.'' The man grabbed her arm visibly tighter but the girl glanced up to Jack. Feeling that someone was watching her. She hesitated getting into the car for a few seconds. In the dark their eyes found each other and suddenly the young girl didn't feel so alone. ''Rose!''

Finally, the young girl got into the car and disappeared from Jack's sight. His heart sank; he wished he knew this girl. She was clearly unhappy and he wanted to know why. He closed his portfolio and stuffed it under his arm before walking quickly to the parks exit. He watched as the man walked to the other side of the motorcar, with his back to Jack and got inside. Inside the car, the girl craned her neck around to find her eyes met Jacks. He felt his heart melt in that moment, he would do anything he could to help this girl. The confines of the car seem to cage her, like a butterfly in a jar. The car pulled away but Jack still didn't take his eyes away from her until the car was no longer visible. Why was he so curious about this girl? He leant his right arm against the fence and felt his heart beating uncontrollably. He felt something was drawing him to her but was unsure what. It was obvious they were classes apart but he didn't care. It was almost as though she was out of his reach. He hoped one day he would see her again.

Edit: 10.5.14

Spellings and grammar.