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'The Mistress of Boredom: An Interpretation of Edward Hopper Nighthawks Painting

As a writer I like to view paintings and create a story for each character depicted.

'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper


The Mistress of Boredom

She looked at the flower she held in her hand

The one she had placed on the left side of her head

As she slipped into her red dress this morning

Surprised that it had not yet withered and died

She had plucked it from her neighbour's yard the night before

Stolen, in fact, if she was to be true to herself

Like her heart had once been stolen by the man who now sat beside her

She could not identify the flower, did not know it's name

And suddenly she realised she did not know the man beside her

The quiet stranger who had warmed her bed for so many nights

And although he talked he did not give answers

Hiding his eyes under the shadow of his hat

As to not give away his time-worn secrets

If she was honest too, she had secrets of her own

And even now, as their fingertips did touch

It had lost the whisper of promised excitement

Like the flower in her hand

It would be dead by the morning of tomorrow


The tolling of the bell sounded in the back recesses of her mind

She glanced across to the other stranger in the room

The one who had no name

His hat, too, slung so low

As he sifted through the activities of the day

Dreading his homeward journey

Like a sixth sense, he heard her enquiring thought

Looking up, he noted the now invisible wall

She had placed herself and her courtier

Her red lips slightly parted

He watched as her pupils dilate

He heard her take a slight breath

Afraid, excited, tempted that he had caught her sultry look

He wondered if warmth just filled her loins

Or was she, just as bored as he was


The clatter of a white porcelain cup, as it was placed upon a saucer

Made his thoughts stray to the barrister behind the counter

The man who made his coffee

Who always had a smile on his face

and a cautionary tale

when you paid him for his service

He was bored again

So he nodded to the man, in the white shirt and cap

and who, with a smile, filled his coffee

Wondering why he lingered so long

Knowing that he had a wife and young child at home

He had seen the incandescent looks between the two strangers across the room

As a motorcycle roared down the street

A powerful machine, visually pleasing

He also knew that secrets had power

That the woman in the red dress, with the flower in her hand

Liked her coffee sweet, with just a dash of milk


That she smelt like vanilla and roses

And her smile was always painted to perfection

To match the dress she wore each day

Her laughter was sweeter than a day lilies good morning

But more venomous than an adder, as it fogged a man's brain

She always brought her new lovers here

Once, twice but never a third

He stared at the man who sat beside her

and wondered what he was thinking

But it wasn't about love, passion or deception

The business of work or the pleasure of rest

But that he had forgotten to turn on the light

© 2021 Angela Lancaster

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