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The coffee shop

By Marc Rogatschnig

It is a gathering place of sorts. People striding in, queuing, scanning the tables for familiar faces, reaching for crinkled newspapers whose pages have been mixed and shuffled. I always sit with my back to the crowd of disorganised chairs and tables. I don’t see the people, but I eavesdrop on their conversations. It’s like watching multiple movies at once: a loud father explaining to his son how they make coffee; two lovers unaware that their tender words have travelled across the din and clatter of cups and steam. A man barks into his phone, chuckling and boasting. We’re all here for coffee; with wings, single, extra foam, hot milk or froth.

I bring my work here, others bring their restless nights. Some reconnect with themselves or friends, some negotiate, others even fight. We all bring our lives here, settle in behind our cups and disappear into the purpose of our visit. I must admit though, I find it quite lonely, and on reflection am struck by how personal it actually is. It occurs to me: what do others think of me? The silent regular, just tapping way, always alone, busy, working?

There was a time when coming to a restaurant was a treat, yet visiting this place is now just a routine. I park under the same trees, to catch the same shade. I sit at the same bench, looking out the same window. I order an Americano, and let a stingy dribble of sugar float on the foam. I always put my computer between myself and my view and before I realise it, I am in fact drinking lukewarm coffee, in a mug that is actually too big. So why do I choose this gathering place?

- Marc is a consulting psychologist and dedicated writer. He discovered his passion in 2014 and published a successful memoir in 2016. I've chosen this piece for its rhythmic qualities and rich imagery, which is a hallmark of his work.


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