Three Folk in a Cafe

A few tables across from me, among friends, sat a gentleman of modest height and of slender build, he wore blue denim and a baggy pearl-white t-shirt that loosely hung over his skinny, almost skeletal frame. He bore a mouse-ish countenance, with sunken cheeks that receded into his gaunt, icy complexion, though young in face he was old, not marked yet by the passage of time, more one almost out of time. His likeness would suit comfortably in one of the early jittering monochromatic reels of the previous century, I imagined him madly fleeing from policemen to frantic piano scores.

Walking across the café towards the counter is a middle-aged man with a hobbling gait, he is well-built and quite muscular, the cerulean of his paisley shirt matches the shade of his eyes, one of them lazy, the other penetrating beneath a stern brow. His right arm is also a lighter shade of blue, the sheen of its plastic and the metal rivets and fittings catch the light from the windows behind me, his prosthetic limb makes an awkward jerk with every strenuous step. Though slowed by his impediment he carries himself straight-backed, his deportment almost militaristic, perhaps he once fought on some far flung front? Or perhaps he has fought a far different battle within familiar surroundings?

Nearby a mother and a friend are deep in conversation, by their side is sat a little girl no older than five who frantically draws in a small colouring book, a pencil gripped in her tiny, chubby hand. I know not of what she draws but I see an artist’s conviction, she attacks her blank canvas with a frenzied passion, but in the flurry of illustration she keeps a disciplined eye, one seldom possessed by the budding-artists of her age group. What imaginative subject matter had she conjured forth? What new inspiration or revelation had entered her perception and stirred her to action so? I shall never know. But regardless of whether it were a crudely scribbled unicorn or an iteration of neo-surrealism the intense mania of creation was there and that is where true magic dwells.

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