The glass door swings open awkwardly; it easily gets stuck. It’s slow today, rainy outside and indoors is a refuge. Roasted coffee grounds suffuse the air, I breathe deep for the caffeinated aroma to wake me. Glass display case houses delectables. I like the cinnamon roll scones, butter and spice infused pastry crumbles at the touch.
They know me here. “The usual?” One barista dark haired, glasses, someone I might be friends with if we were contemporaries in college. She usually has her hair pulled back, a ready smile. She inquires about my kids, about my weekend. The other is more quiet, still friendly but I find a kinship in her introversion. They trade off working the espresso machine, making the savory crepes and manning the register. They work well together.
Music is varied, dependent on the day. Today it is soft, vibratory melodies, barely perceptible. The other day it was David Gray, flashbacks to the 90’s and early 2000’s. I liked the melancholy music; it triggered memories of a transitioning millennium, a time of before and after, when we were all ushered into a dark and divided new norm.
They remodeled the coffee shop recently, adding wood panels, copper lighting. The concrete floor rings cold and is polished roughly. Anywhere else it would chill me, this floor, but here the soft bare light bulbs overhead, the steam rising from the espresso machine, the friendly conversation between neighbors, the head down seclusion of the newspaper reader: it warms me.
I like the quiet, the bursts of gentle laughter, the sound of sipping coffee, of cups resting on square tables, of tip-tap typing, of a clanking of dirty dishes as we each take a morning pause, collective and caffeinating into the new day.