I’ve been slack and I was bored this afternoon so I sat down and churned this out. Enjoy!
The cafe was being assailed by the chilling coastal winds and the black umbrellas that stood over the outdoor tables reminded him of palm trees battling a storm. Regardless, the view from his favourite seat was still mesmerising. You could still see the deep blue of the ocean in the distance that stretched across the horizon and what seemed like an eternity of bold green hills wound their way from his location towards the salty water. As the clouds slowly enveloped the mountainside it gave this lunchtime outing a feeling of deep afternoon. The wind had followed the clouds and the tips of the young man’s fingers had long since gone numb but he steadfastly refused to leave. A picturesque view and a warm cup of coffee were all that he required to enjoy his lunch. The stained pages of the book he had carried around this week fluttered constantly and he had to use his newly useless phone to weigh it down. “Nothing but a glorified paperweight”, he thought, since he couldn’t use the touchscreen properly without more warmth to his hands it had this singular purpose. Staring nonchalantly into his empty mug he longed for more warmth and conceded he’d have to move, if only for a few moments. Surrendering his table wasn’t an issue as the deck was void of fellow customers with the exception of an elderly couple who seemed to possess the same stubborn outlook as he. He gave them a courteous smile as he shuffled past them and into the cafe.
The warm glow of the fortified cafe was enhanced today thanks to the fire that roared in the background and the heat from the kitchen gave the entire room a toasty feel. Everything inside seemed golden and alive almost, and the waitresses gave him a pitying half smile as they saw him emerge from the grey outside. Her voice was soft and deliberate and somehow still managed to startle him as she appeared from behind the coffee machine.“Are you sure you don’t want a seat by the fire?” her gold hair suited the cafe perfectly today, “It’s a lovely day for it”. She thought him mad, and when he turned her offer down with explanations of the view outside she simply flashed her stainless teeth at him and conceded he couldn’t be helped. He tried to make small talk but his heart just wasn’t in it and his deliberate pause between “Can I”and “get a” was noticed by everyone behind the counter as they knew exactly what he was going to re-order. As the coffee was being extracted he was sorely tempted to change his mind as it was a shame to leave again, but he could sit inside anywhere.
The hard plastic of his chair welcomed him and he sighed contently as he and the chair became one again. The conversation between the elderly couple had whipped up since his departure and he could make out the argument to be about where it was they had lunch with their grandchildren last weekend. It must be awful getting older. Everything slows down and details become blurred together. “Not that different to me now”, he smiled to himself, “I’m lucky if I know what day it is, let alone where I had lunch a few days ago”. Her soft voice materialised out of nowhere and she lowered his coffee with a slight tremor. It was cold, but not that cold. Thankfully the awkwardness he had generated inside the coffee shop had dwindled to nothing and he could relax again. That was until they started;
“Did you see that ladies’ coffee?” The old lady asked her husband hesitantly.
“Her top?” He asked, genuinely puzzled as to the random line of questioning.
“No, her coffee design” Her answer was forceful and it was obvious she was impatient.
“Oh yes, the rabbit”, he was quite pleased with himself.
“The rabbit? There was a rabbit on her top?”
“No, the coffee.”
“There’s no rabbit on the coffee!”
“Hmm, could have sworn…”
The young man had to end it for their sake, “It’s a flower.”
“Doesn’t look much like a flower to me”, she mumbled under her breath.
“Rabbits like flowers.”
The entertainment was short lived and they eventually returned to imperceptible mutterings. Yes, it was going to be a truly interesting adventure getting old. This was the third day in a row he had sat in his seat at the cafe and it had never failed to deliver a fond memory or anecdote like this. Usually it was bustling with tourists and locals alike all clamoring to get the best view for the afternoon together, but he was thankful today there was a respite from all that. He would never have heard the elderly argument over such inadmissible things. He would never have been served so quickly, and been able to stretch out like this. The joy of all things small, that’s what it was about. It always delivered.