I came here to write.
Not because it’s the only place I could come, although in this small town it kinda is. Today it’s a happy mix of foreign & familiar. The buzz of the espresso machine & warmth from the flow of people helps me push aside my to do list & find mental notes of remarkable moments from previous weeks. Noteworthy not for their peculiarity, but more likely for their humanity. Their everyday-ness.
Sylvia my trusty lilac steed is chained up outside. She’d probably still be there at the end of the day had I casually propped her up against the glass walls. I chain the wheels & the frame & the helmet around a pole anyway. It took me less than 3 minutes to push her away from the patio, down familiar streets, around slow corners & up to the bakery door. Waving at big families choosing a morning walk to the store over their Volvo busses, & greeting local shop owners setting out trinkets on the pavement. The unbearable heavy heat I’ve known on these streets has given way to grey skies & crisp air. I remember why autumn is my favourite.
Usually when I’m at the bakery, I’m the one standing behind the counter armed with an apron & attentiveness. Listening for the tinkle of the bell as someone else leaves or arrives. Smiling at new families & familiar faces as they are waiting for coffee & choosing pies, ordering sandies & sangers. I’m watching for tables empty of people but full of plates & keeping an eye on fridges of donuts & slice.
In the busy morning shifts I rattle off questions by wrote – Any sugars? Any sauce? Anything else? Patient with out-of-towners admiring country decor while they find something familiar on the menu. Grateful for familiar faces who won’t mind waiting.
Quiet afternoon hours I watch members of the bakery family curled up in corner couches; thinking, connecting, laughing, resting, working. I marvel at the alcove in my heart that this family has taken residence in so quickly. Grateful for the wide armed acceptance, affection & honour that a few brave people can offer. Amazed at how a heart can change, & at the beauty in the unexpected.
I came here to write; now I close my laptop & scrape back my hair. Tie on an apron & stack some dishes – it’s time to work.