Cafe

by Lindsay Brown

The man is large, but not just in stature. His voice bounces around the room as he unselfconsciously bustles about, seemingly unaware of the space he takes up. Sitting down at a table, he sips at an orange juice. With his cagoule on over his business wear, he takes some papers out of his backpack and spreads them across the table. He looks at the papers without really reading them, absent-mindedly rubbing his bald head. His cheerful demeanour slowly ebbs as he gazes at the documents, replaced with an expression of anxiety. Removing an unfashionable mobile phone from his pocket, he fiddles with it, frowning.

The woman is nestled into the squashy leather sofa, book in hand. Bundled up in a chunky wool cardigan and heavy boots, her eyes devour the pages of her novel. She has beautiful, iridescent blue-black skin, close cropped hair, and chipped burgundy nail polish on her fingers. I try to catch the title of the book she’s reading, but I don’t want her to think I’m staring at her. The steam from her coffee cup has stopped, but she doesn’t appear to have touched it. Her phone rings, and she rejects the call without looking at the screen.

A baby girl sits in a pink buggy, gurgling and kicking her legs. I know she’s a girl because not only is buggy pink, her clothes and toys are too. She is wearing a sparkly headband that I imagine would be uncomfortable for one with a soft skull. Her chubby face goes from giggling to pensive to crestfallen to amused in a matter of seconds, continually changing. She looks like she knows something, in that way that babies sometimes do. Her big brother rushes over and kisses her on the head. She gets a fright and starts screaming.

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