Everyone I want to be at the coffee shop this fall Saturday morning
Maybe we even do look a bit alike, we are the same kind of woman if you know what I mean, same colours, same face shape. We have blondish hair, greenish eyes. She is older tough, maybe thirty, maybe a bit more. She is sitting at the table next to mine, she wears comfy clothes, they seem warm. In front of her, a blondish kid is colouring. They chat a bit. I think about Lorelai Gilmore. The kid is having a brownie and occasionally getting his hands dirty. Her body constantly leans on the table to help him eat, to hear what he is saying, to look at what he is colouring. I imagine this is a special time of the week, a mom-son moment in which they both have sweets and sugary hot beverages. I imagine they walk together to the cafè and he walks jumping a bit like kids do when they are very happy, and she follows smiling and luckily it just never rains on Saturday mornings. I imagine she asks a lot of questions and listens carefully and makes him feel like he is a real adult and takes his thoughts and feelings seriously. And I imagine she is happy.
They are loud. I hear them laugh and talk even if I have my earphones on “noise cancellation” mode. It’s probably six or seven of them even if the table would only fit four people. They smile so hard and their lips shine with red lip gloss. They are radiant, they are not what you think about when someone says radiant. They have wrinkles that fold as their muscles move to talk and ask and update and joke. They pass around plants and flowers and everybody says: ”Oh, come on, you shouldn’t have” and everybody answers: “But of course”. How long have they known each other? I see them: they are young and they go dancing. They are a tight group, they walk to a bar, they move with the music, they go out to smoke, maybe they drink too much, they stay out late, they laugh loudly in the street. How did they become old women? I see them grappling with growing, teaching each other how to deal, passing notes as if they were preparing for some big test. How many times have they found each other again? I see them reuniting, maybe less happy sometimes, around so many different tables, every time looking at each other and picking up right where they left it. They are what I want to think about when I think radiant.
She wears cool clothes, she has amazing eyeliner, she sits alone at a nice round table right in front of the counter. The counter has a showcase and the showcase is full: chocolate muffins, raspberry muffins, brownies, crumble, cheesecake, cookies, biscuits, yogurt bowls, fruit, carrot cake, croissant, pain au chocolat. And behind the counter, there’s the kitchen and from the kitchen comes coffee and juice and cappuccino and chai and flat white and matcha and pancakes and avocado toast and eggs and bacon and salads with too many ingredients to name and sandwiches that are too full.She looks at all of that and she looks at the menu and she talks with the waitress and as in a dance so many different things start to arrive: the juice the cappuccino the avocado toast the eggs the raspberry muffin. The round table is full and she stretches her arms to reach the last bite of avocado. She eats slowly, all at the same time, she mixes flavours, she smiles, she laughs at times and I think that’s a bit weird before I realize she is listening to something.I decided she is celebrating. She finishes, gets up and goes to the counter to pay and she gets a cookie to go. The bell over the door rings softly as she walks out.
They chat and show each other things on their phones. They wear trendy clothes, the air around them smells the same as walking into Alcott. They have hair they straightened or curled, this morning they spent so much time getting ready, they tested different outfits and chose the perfect one. They giggle lightly as they tell each other what they are going to get. It’s the first time they get these caffeinated sugary drinks and they feel so adult. They talk about school and crushes and a TV series they are all watching and they get even more excited when choosing a sweet and the table fills up with cakes and cookies and muffins. When they leave, their parents are waiting for them outside. They hug them or kiss their forehead and some of them blush with embarrassment, they say bye as if they were leaving for war and they walk away telling moms and dads it all went well.
He is sitting in front of his mom. Saturday is the day that they have breakfast together and the day he gets to order whatever he wants. As he was walking here he reflected on what could be best to get: chocolate brownie or carrot cake? He told his mom, she smiled and said: ”There are carrots in there, you know?”. He moved his eyebrows in a puzzled expression, then laughed: ”Mom, it does not matter! There is sugar too!”. Eventually, though, he decides the brownies are way more worth it. As they sit down, he takes out coloured pencils and paper and starts drawing trees and a big big sun on the corner of the page. As they have breakfast, he tells mom about his week at school and she asks about what he learned and the kids he played with. He tells her that next week they plan to build a fort with branches in the garden. He smiles and she smiles too.
They walk home together, he is jumping like kids do and she follows him.