I walked into my local café with a friend. Reggae played and that lovely atmosphere of authenticity and enthusiasm emanated.
‘Hi P, where have you been? We haven’t seen you for ages!’ said M from behind the coffee maker. ‘Well, I went on holiday and, I don’t know, I’ve been around but not had a chance to come in’, I replied. V appeared – ‘Hey P, how are you?’ ‘Great thanks – how’s your head today (V usually goes out on the tear on a Monday night – it was Tuesday)?’ ‘Oh, not so bad, but I have been breaking into cold sweats a bit’. ‘Yeah, she’s useless when she’s in this state’ M said. V and I chuckled. C appeared. I noticed he’d grown a handlebar moustache. ‘What’s the moustache about C?’ ‘Hey, I had this before you left; I guess I just tweaked it up at the corners a bit more’.
‘So, where were you?’ M asked. ‘Corfu’, I replied. ‘And, by the way I had the best frappes ever over there. Do you know it was once the most popular drink in Greece? I mean it’s only made from Nescafe – but even so – they were absolutely delicious’. M, he of the moss drawing talents and extreme barista skills, looked up from his coffee making: ‘Hmm’ he said suspiciously. ‘What can I get you?’ ‘A flat white please’.
The chat continued. I was introduced to Bob – a new recruit. ‘He’s new here by three days but not new to coffee making’, M said. Bob had the café style written all over him; a trusty beard, an intelligent face and clearly other stuff going on besides being a barista.
My coffee appeared. ‘Oh wow, M!’ He’d produced a flat white with a lovely big heart on the top and branching off that – a beautiful little miniature heart. He beamed at me. ‘Take a picture, E, take a picture!’ I said to my friend. ‘Oh no’ E replied. ‘You should never have done that; she won’t talk about anything else all day now’.
We took our coffees and departed. Although it was only a short visit, the experience of conversation, music and camaraderie generated a warmth that stayed with me all day.