• Charlie Murray

The Return of The Yellow King

For eighteen long months sunlight sat like an obedient puppy, eagerly awaiting a treat from its teasing master outside the doors of The Yellow Café. Each day it begged for the doors to open once more but to no avail. Nothing but the sound of silence could be heard throughout the hallowed grounds, maybe on reflection somebody should have told Simon and Garfunkel the café was closed!

One by one the seasons sat with sunlight, they served as faithful guardians keeping watch over the sacred space. They came, waited and then they left without a single glance inside the solid oak barn-doors that separated the magic within from the reality of life outside.

Autumn slowly wandered up the long treelined path to the café doors, gently caressing every tree, shrub and flower as it moved closer to the mystical building. The bright, fiery season brought with it a great deal of hope. Yes, a new season is always an indication of change, regeneration, rejuvenation and most importantly the aforementioned hopefulness. This time of the year had always held a special place in the hearts of everyone at The Yellow Café, indeed the magical place wouldn’t have existed in the first place were it not for Autumn. Yes, the third season felt confident that it would see the return of the café, it absolutely had to be.

Summer packed up its flowers, each one more beautifully fragrant than the last, it placed them in a suitcase along with all of the butterflies, bees and beautiful songbirds. It wrapped them all in its restorative warmth and promised them that next year would be their time, for next year they would see beyond the mysterious oak doors.

Autumn lightly shook one of the many apple trees that sat neglected in the orchard, the fruit would be a delicious parting gift for Summer, something to savour on the long journey to the southern hemisphere. Nothing could beat the first bite of the first apple harvest of the year, this one would prove to be particularly special because it brought with it the most magical present.

The apples fell to the floor with a series of hearty thuds, a few of them bruised, some bounced, but they all survived. They weren’t the only thing that fell from the tree though because as Autumn shook the tree something much larger hit the ground with a decidedly less graceful, more bruised landing. The additional harvest was much larger than an apple, far less round too, but did have hair that rivalled the colours of the rosy delights.

A series of exclamations in a mixture of broken English, French and then clearly Dutch erupted from the bedraggled and bewildered bundle that had been unexpectedly harvested from the tree.

The seasons paused for a moment, as sunlight illuminated the newfound source of noise, the sound of silence no longer rang out. As the sun soothed the startled flame-red wonder a hearty laughter filled the air, joy sprang from every corner and then without warning there came a loud bang, followed by an even louder creaking sound.

The sound felt unfamiliar, yet strangely familiar, a sound so unusual it startled the wildlife that, for well over a year, had lived peacefully all around the source of the noise. It cracked this time, followed swiftly by a long, low, groaning sound and then slowly, softly, the sound of metal hinges swinging open as the doors to The Yellow Café opened once more.

Sunlight turned its gaze slowly from the now upright figure of a gentleman who stood in front of the apple tree wrapped in Autumn’s sweet embrace. He cast his icy blue eyes in the same direction as Sunlight. They smiled, they all smiled, every insect, animal, plant, tree and season grinned from ear to ear and then all at once they charged like children at the opening of a toy store.

Sunlight stampeded through the door, frantically embracing, kissing, licking and touching every inch of the café like a lover reunited with their mate after months apart. Never the twain shall be parted again.

Autumn sent a parade of leaves tumbling through the door, the auburn delights danced across the floor, swirling and swishing with such wonderous joy. Sunlight illuminated the spectacle, the sound of laughter, the glorious sweet tones, a true nectar for the soul.

The seasonal, celebratory fanfare subsided momentarily as a figure now stood silhouetted in the doorway, at first it appeared quite ominous and as it cut a rather stern, fierce shape, the leaves quivered, the sunlight flickered and a cool wind blew, sending a chill through everything, as the man placed his hand in his pocket.

He pulled out something long, dark and slender and pointed it at the heart of the café. Everyone and everything waited with bated breath. The man held the item deftly between his fingers, so connected were the two that it seemed to be an extension of his body and soul. With a swish, as though he were a magician casting a fine spell, he released a stream of golden sunflower tints from his paintbrush, until the heart of The Yellow Café overflowed once more with divine Ochre.

The man’s voice echoed throughout the grounds as words that he had once spoke rang out like the chimes of an old clock newly restored.

‘It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.’ Vincent’s very own words.

With that, The Yellow Café wrapped Vincent Van Gogh in a veil of love and welcomed its eternal muse back into the sacred space as the Autumn parade marched through the land, heralding the return of the magic. Whispers on the fresh autumnal wind could be heard far and wide, as the leaves swirled, twirled and danced. It’s back, The Yellow Café is back!

‘Now,’ smiled the Artist, ‘where is the wine and cheese? I need to create!’

Written & Narrated by Charlie Murray with Music Composed and Recorded by Richard Digance