“Sun been down for days
A pretty flower in a vase
A slipper by the fireplace
A cello lying in its case…”
I decided to pull over. How long have I been driving? 3? 4 hours? I turned off the car radio and checked my phone. No new messages. I went out of the car, stretched a bit and looked around. I smiled.
I pulled out my bag from the back seat, took out my trusty digicam and took photos as I walked towards the coffee shop. “I should do this more often”, I thought. The door chime warmly greeted me as I made my way inside the cozy place. I scanned the room, not for familiar faces but for a nice comfy spot where I can rest. I found one near the window, perfectly oriented where I parked my car.
As I moved inside the place, I can sense something: eyes — many eyes following my every step. I pretended not to care. I sat down, placed my things on the table and looked outside. “These people…” They must’ve been asking the same questions… of why in the world a lady in her mid 20s is here at this hour, alone. Have she been travelling all by herself?
I turned my gaze inside the coffee shop. I noticed that almost everyone were in groups. There’s a couple sitting in front of me, a family with a cute baby girl on the other table, and a bunch of teens on the far end of the room. “I’m also asking the same questions”, I said to myself. I took a deep breath, stood up and headed to the counter.
“Good morning ma’am”, the cashier greeted me. I gave her a polite smile, asked for a regular sized coffee and some donuts. I noticed her eyes as I paid my order. I can tell she’s a bit sleepy and tired. She handed over my change giving her best smile, as if trying to hide her real state. I said thanks and headed back to my seat.
I was only a few steps away from my chair when the little baby girl blocked my way. I stopped. She was staring at me. I gave a short laugh and she smiled. She started clapping her hands like any 3 year old baby as she continued to munch the food on her mouth — pancakes. I can still see the syrup dripping off her chin. Her mom stood up, wiped the face of the baby and pulled her out of the way. She gave an apologetic smile and signalled that I can already pass through.
I saw my phone blink just in time I arrived at my table. Alarm. It’s already 5 am. I sat down and waited for my order. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this now. Who would have thought that a crazy idea I once put into writing would actually come true? I couldn’t be any happier. I took out my journal and a pen from my bag and flipped through the pages. I drew a line over a set of words on the paper.
Travel alone and have breakfast in a coffee shop.
I decided to put on my earphones and closed my eyes for a while.
“…and she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread…”
“I want to do this again”, I thought. Few seconds after, I found myself writing this: “Go back to this place… with someone.” I kept staring at what I just wrote when I saw a cup of coffee placed in front of me. My coffee. Good. I automatically closed my notebook and quickly said thanks to the crew. I love the smell of coffee.
I noticed the couple sitting in front of me preparing to leave, as well as the family on the other table. Are they all going to leave now? I took a sip of my coffee and observed the people in the room. The baby girl fell asleep on her dad’s arm. Too bad, I didn’t have the chance to wave goodbye. I guess she already forgot her new friend.
“They come, they go.”
I should probably wait for the sunrise.
I closed my eyes and slowly allowed the music to drown me.
“…as she goes in a store
Where the people are pleasantly strange
And counting the change
And she goes…