My heart sings, the moment the skies open.
My heart sings, the moment the skies open. My mood lifts to the sound of the rain on every surface. I’m in the dry. I’m covered, but I can feel the movement in the air, caused by the displacement of the rain, on my face, I can smell the ground's relief - a musk of contentment,
It has rained all day. This has made me happy. I sit in the café for an hour. My pocketbook is by my side open, my pen observing my fellow drinkers and those unfortunate enough to not be in here. I have a newspaper. A shield from unwanted eyes - but I am not reading. I’m looking. I’m staring. I’m reading souls.
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The man across from me. In his thirties, is struggling with hair and confidence loss. He seems agitated. He is on his phone - as most of the other people are here - waiting. I’m not sure if he wants the rain to finish or someone to walk through the door - But neither seems likely. He needs to shave - although perhaps that’s his ‘look’ - it seems today - his legs jiggle, tapping out some morse-coded, unconscious message to something or someone. He slurps as he drinks. There are minute droplets of cappuccino foam on his upper lip. He needs to lick them.
I am not the only one looking at him. There’s a girl doing the same. She’s with her boyfriend - but his back is to this guy, so he can’t see what I do. Is she flirting? Are they actually together? This looks like more than a casual glance. But, you know how it is, sometimes you need to force yourself not to look and the act of doing this makes it more evident that you are looking - gives a greater meaning to each flick of the eye.
And now I see him slip a gun from his waistband as he stands and holds it out in front of him … no, no, this is just a fantasy. This is London - that kind of thing doesn’t happen at random. The door goes, and he stands - yes, he was waiting for someone. A smile spreads across his face, which changes his character forever. I had him wrong. His resting face is one which lies. He keeps his true self hidden - or does this new girl bring that out in him?
I move to the Baristas - two girls - they are mucking around, laughing and talking in Spanish. They look too young to be here. I envy their passion. The way they speak, their confidence - they have come all this way to a country where they know no one and where a foreign tongue is spoken, and they are happy. They have jobs. They are paid. They are out of the rain. Perhaps they are in classes in the evening. They have name badges with long names that I cannot make out. Every now and again the mucking around is put on hiatus as they serve a customer, they take it turns to make the coffee - but both of them always do something - whether it’s the milk or the chocolate or just putting the lid on.
But it’s always the taller of the two who takes the order and writes on the cup - a small squiggle, and it’s this that I’m interested in. This hieroglyph is different every time - it is dependent upon the customer. I have been here three times and have the same strange mark - it looks something like an eye with legs. I watch keenly and haven’t seen anyone else with this mark. There is magic here. There is an assignment of spells. It’s not the type of coffee, either. Today I sit with a black Americano - yesterday a macchiato - same symbol. When she drew it she looked at me as if to say ‘I Know you’
Plymouth. 2009. Polaroid SX-70
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