Three People in a Cafe

The boy behind the counter looks not only bored, but also somewhat like the human personification of that feeling. He is never rude to customers nor does he seem reluctant to do the job – he takes coins and pours coffee just as well as the next hollow eyes, sleep deprived student – but it is not hard to see that whenever his mind is not directly occupied it tends to drift off as if on a currant. Beneath the coffee stained apron he wears what is evidently a band t-shirt, faded with repeated washing and the even more unavoidable damage of time … perhaps a hand-me-down? Its hard to tell. Something makes me think yes. Something also make me peg him for a musician himself; he looks most engaged where there are not customers and he is left to his own devices, able to hum to himself and drum quietly on the formica counter tops with two pencils. I bet he’s a drummer.


The first thing to notice about the girl sitting at the table nearest the door is the strong scent of coffee hovering around her which, when linked to the stain on her t-shirt, hint at tragically spilled coffee. She’s dressed very much like a student; her style is current but the garments themselves are all either cheap or worn with age. On the table before her are two cups – one empty and one half full and still steaming – as well as bundles of notes and an open laptop . . . but the notes seem to be untouched and the laptop has lain dormant long enough that the screen has gone dark. The girl ignores these and instead pursues a novel with familiar cover art that features a steam train, occasionally shooting looks of concern at the untouched work load.


In the very back corner, right near the bathroom and as far from the cake stand as possible, there’s this woman with a small child. The woman is far too old to be the child mother, but has all the weariness about her of a primary caregiver to a child in the early stages of beginning a toddler. She looks so tired. More harrowing still, she looks sad; there’s a misery swimming in her eyes that looks strong enough to have taken the colour from her face and raked worry lines over her skin. But when the child laughs, it makes her smile … and that’s nice to see.