The Yellow Jacket

Vincent van Gogh. Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, 1888. 81x65.5cm. Kröller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

"Did you hit your friend for a good reason?"

Armand nodded. "Jacqueline."

The man hung his head. "Anger, heat, hope--passions are what makes a man alive, but maybe it's also good for a man to go away when things stir him up too much." He covered his face with his hands, and then let them fall. "Working at something new can help too. Like last night. I painted in the dark."


The painter grinned and showed him a hat with stubs of candles wedged in the hat band and the front brim cut off. "Here, look." He brought out a night painting of the cafe terrace on place du Forum.

The terrace was blazing in yellow and orange from the lights inside the cafe, scorching the night in that spot. Stars like chunks of quartz hung in the dark blue sky. "The sky has eyes," Armand said.

The painter nodded in quick jerks of his head, hard enough to snap his neck. "In Tunisia, don't forget to look at the sky at night."