On A Stool In A Cafe

He wrote in the notebook and then closed the notebook and placed the pencil on top of it and he went back to reading his novel. From the stool in the window he could observe office workers and others populating the city street in a kind of urgent pulsing slow-speed shove. As he watched he predicted who would cut in front of whom and he found himself enjoying the spectacle of feigned surprise when two commuters dressed in the same shade of dark grey came together, and one was more animated than the other for she felt herself wronged, and the other shrugged and communicated with her body a kind of indifference which only succeeded in annoying the first woman even more as it was insincere and it was obvious that the second woman had tried to get away with pushing in front and expecting other people to wait while she did it. But they were in a hurry, so they both got on with going where they were going. The incident lasted barely twenty seconds.

A man was playing the trumpet just down the street and the sound could be heard in the coffee shop. Some men and women walked out of their way to put something in the trumpet player’s instrument case. He was playing classical music made famous on TV ads and that appealed to workers with worry on their minds and hassles following them.

His mind became submerged again in the novel he was reading. It only ever took him a few minutes to shake off the cares of his day and take himself out of his present situation with the aid of a decent book. It didn’t even have to be a good book. Just readable. And this was readable. It was set in the middle ages and a monk was solving crimes and people were dying mysteriously, possibly by poisoning, and there was more than enough to capture his whole imagination.

He finished a chapter and looked up. A trickle of coffee remained in his cup, and it was cold, and he felt he really ought to get another if he was to stay there, out of the melee on the street, and read a bit more. So he ordered another and when the man brought it over he sipped it at first, as he loved that moment when it smells so good but all you can do is take little sips, baby sips, and if you aren’t careful you can still burn yourself, but you can’t just let it sit. He never just let his coffee sit. So he blew on the surface and inhaled deeply through his nose, and took a careful taste, which succeeded in burning the skin just above his top lip, quite painfully, in fact. And he blew again and told himself to be patient or he would only burn himself more painfully.

The coffee had begun to cool by the time he remembered it was there. Reading had again caught his attention, the story captivating, crimes still unsolved, and when his eyes left the page he looked down and saw the cup had only a lethargic steam rising from it. He gulped and half was gone. And he gulped again, and the other half was gone. And his cup was empty, which meant he would need to get another cup in a little while if he was to stay here, and be left alone to read, while he waited and read and waited for the time when he had to leave to attend that meeting and lay off all of those staff. He drained the last drop from his cup and returned to his book.

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Published in: on November 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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