Coffee And Strangers

When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know
Downtown

Petula Clark

The rattling of trays and the clinking of coffee cups. The indistinguishable chatter, voices gradually getting louder, each conversation competing with that to its left and its right. Not loud, just noise-some. Not overbearing, simply loud enough, so that no single voice dominates. Each tête-à-tête easily heard by those who need to hear yet lost on nosey, prickling ears. The sound of friends together, sipping their tea or colleagues grabbing a bite in a hurried lunch hour.

There are things to see in every direction. The couple with their heads together, plotting, perhaps romancing. The mother, worn with the day by noon, ignoring her bundle of joy as he bangs the spoon more and more ferociously on the china cup. The businessman, all suited and booted, who tries to ignore the banging. The young, the old, and the inbetweeners all in one place. The coffee lovers and tea drinkers all sharing air space. Everyone different, with their own baggage and dreams. Everyone interesting in their own, private way.

Then there’s me in my spot on the comfy red and grey sofa. A cup of milky coffee sits next to a plate of crumbs, the remnants of today’s quick bite or daily treat. The little guy lies on his blanket, cooing at the white ceiling like it’s a miracle. Ageing ladies peer over and smile fondly. Nearby caffeine junkies look on nervously, perhaps afraid we’re going to disturb their peace.

And I am happy. There’s no need to talk to anyone; occasional eye contact and the odd smile is enough. I am alone with my thoughts but never lonely, watching the world go about its business. I sit hearing but not listening to the voices of folk I don’t know. Baby and I are delighted to be out, and happy in the company of strangers.

 

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