It was a coffee shop plain and simple. The squat brownstone was located along an old market street, tucked between a clothing store and a dark alley. If you weren’t looking for it, you may miss it. This is how inconsequential it was. It was the place she loved to drink her early morning coffee.
She blew away the steam that curled up into the air and admired the small galaxies etched in the murky black by her creamer. Fresh baked muffins and cookies wafted in the air, vying for her attention behind glass counters. A host of little lights twinkled in the early morning darkness above the windows and casted a white glow around the shop’s edges. A silence also permeated the air. This was gradually interrupted by the tinkling of the bell above the door. It rung to announce the entry of her fellow tired eyed patrons. Their steps caused the floorboards to squeak. The weight of the business making the entire shop groan.
There was a slow chatter. More like a dull hum of conversation. She stared around and engaged in her favorite hobby: people watching.
She turned to the couple behind her. She could only see the girl’s face, the boy’s back was facing her. It was a curious thing seeing this couple. They come here often at this time. She never hears the topic of their conversation. The girl bit her lip as she played with a lock of her brown hair. She gazed intensely into her companion’s eyes like he was the only thing that mattered. She held his hand and leaned forward. A secret has passed between them. She smiles a crooked smile, the black haired boy brings his other hand to his chin.
She stares across the room. Against the window, a girl stared into her brightly lit computer screen typing furiously at her keyboard. Maybe a student, maybe an aspiring writer. The sun beams steadily streamed through the glass. Her thick black curls look a reddish gold in their rays, her skin a shimmering brown. She puts her face in her hands. It was too early to be working like this. She grabs her coffee and sips slow. She eyes her work and frowns. Not good enough.
The barista worked furiously behind the counter. He adjusts his glasses as he adjusts the water pressure of the coffee machine. It fizzed and clanked as he mixed the coffee with steamed milk. His red apron was covered in little stains to mark his work. He attained a new one as the metal can filled to the brim. He worked his best at 7.50 an hour because the bills needed to be paid. He handed his handiwork to a woman in thick red lipstick and a navy suit. She offered her small thanks and walks over to the spice counter to add a bit more cinnamon to the petals of whipped cream.
Two older men talked nostalgically about old times. Through quiet laughter and whispers, they hailed the tale of their youth. One cupped his hands around his coffee, hunched over the smoke that tickled against his white whiskers. Do you remember the time, he would say as his partner chuckled nodding his head. He nibbled his cookie and picked at his starch sleeve. Yes, those were the days.
The woman sitting by herself in this bustling shop smiled and took her first sip of coffee. She eased into the scene, picking up the paper on the table. She drank in the knowledge of the outside world. Huge, complicated and beyond the sphere of her little coffee shop.
(Last Edited: 07 January 2016)