Prompt: A Rainy Night in Dusseldorf

Posted March 2, 2012 by Amber in Writing / 12 Comments


Rainy day by *Lalla-Mira

It was a rainy night in Dusseldorf, but then again, Mary imagined it was raining everywhere in the world.  Growing up in London had that affect on people.  Even tucked in the corner of her favorite German bakery, she found herself ignoring the steaming cup of tea and staring at the raindrops as they trickled down the glass windows outside the shop, disappearing from her vision behind trays of crullers and the red-painted letters on the window itself.  The electric lanterns on the street gave the from of the bakery an eerie glow,as though something could happen all at once, or maybe the night would go on, surrounded by smooth jazz and the barest hint of cinnamon.

How she longed for home….

Tea time wasn’t the same in Germany as it was in England; nothing was the same in Germany as it was in England.  It had its own strudel-and-accordion sort of charm, but the in end, no matter how similar they looked on the outside, this place could never be home to her.  The rain here was too cold.  The tea was too strong.  The language felt harsh and rough.  Even the way the attendant looked at her from behind the counter made her feel unwelcome.  His brown eyes glinted like stained steel under his thick eyebrows, and she blushed and ducked her head low, trying to focus on the empty notepad on the small table in front of her.  Still, her eyes strayed away from the hopeless task at hand, through the strands of her dirty blonde hair, and back the blurry raindrop patterns on the windows.

How many people had sat in this seat before her, their hot-beverage-of-choice clasped between their cold hands, their brains scrying for an original way to say something people have been saying for generations?  How many people sat here, their entire life’s story ahead of them, looking for the right first word?  She imagined distinguished men in waistcoats, old ladies with wiry hair, maybe even a young boy with his dog drawing pictures on the dainty paper napkins.

And as though that was any sort of lousy inspiration, she picked up her tooth-marked pencil and scrawled in her own loopy handwriting:

“It was a rainy night in Dusseldorf….”


The prompt: I challenge you with this opening line:

“It was a rainy night in Dusseldorf…”


You have 500 words. Have fun with it.

Author’s Note: Whenever I think of rain, I am hopelessly drawn to London.  I know it’s a ruthless (though occasionally true) stereotype, but somehow rain in London just seems more romantic than it could possibly be anywhere else (except Seattle).  Thus London had to somehow come into this prompt.  And writing and rain seem to go hand-in-hand for me.  Anyone else feel that way?

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12 responses to “Prompt: A Rainy Night in Dusseldorf

  1. “writing and rain seem to go hand-in-hand”

    I had that thought this morning listening to the rain, but the constant interruptions from the kids are doing me in today. Must overcome that!

  2. I love the description, “brown eyes glinted like stained steel” – such a great image of rusty-brown eyes. really enjoyed reading this.

  3. This was good. A very different take on the prompt! The pace was excellent and I love your descriptions. “this place could never be home to her. The rain here was too cold. The tea was too strong. The language felt harsh and rough.” Such a succinct way to describe the feeling of being in a strange country.

    You made me feel and see what happening with this woman. I am pleased she picked up the “tooth-marked pencil” and wrote:~)

  4. What is it about rain that makes us want to be inside a bakery, a cafe, a corner restaurant? Maybe it’s more than just warmth, but a type of home-like comfort. Not sure that made sense. Getting a little tired here. My point? Your post was comforting. I wanted to wrap myself up in the words. Great job! And I agree, the circular nature of the post was nice.

  5. There is something about being in what ought to be a familiar situation, but still far from home, that rain evokes.

    I like the way you used the prompt, and sure, rain and London are a bit cliché, but clichés are clichés because they’re true.

    • That is exactly how I feel about clichés. I try to mainly avoid them, but this one is one of my favorites.

      Actually, this piece started as a girl in a bakery called “Dusseldorf” but then it’s either would be grammatically incorrect, or not true to the prompt.