The Coffee Shop

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade January 2002

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Outside the day was bleak and gray, promising that the heavens would release a downpour at any moment. It was a depressing Sunday afternoon. Everything closes early and everyone mopes around because they have to go back to work the next day. I sat in a coffee shop, pretending to be absorbed in my book. I had picked a table in the furthest, darkest corner. All around me were studying, reading, or leaning close into one another talking, almost in hushed whisper. There was a melancholy atmosphere with concrete floors, wooden tables and dimly lit lights. It smelled of roasting coffee beans and patchouli incense. The incense wanted to make me vomit. Nobody make eye contact or looked up to say hello to anyone. Most of the people were regulars, people I had seen there before. I even had their drinks memorized I was in there so often. Most of the people were in their twenties and most of them were entirely clothed in black.

It almost looks like a scene in a movie on the day of a funeral. There was an air of pretentiousness to the crowd, as if you couldn't quite feel comfortable asking for a quarter without being silently judged.

Every few minutes the owner would come out and yell something to the barista at the counter in a thick German accent, breaking the silent rule everyone seemed to be following. All the customers would glare up at her with a look of disgust. We really never knew what she was screaming about but we knew it wasnt good.

Behind the counter was a small girl with a very pale complexion. She was the one serving drinks. She didn't smile, she talked quietly, never asking her customers how their day was going. Her hair was blood red, cut short in what must have been a "home haircut." In her nose was a hoop. In her ears were even bigger hoops. She wore black nail polish and round, tortoise shell glasses on the very tip of her nose. Her pale hand would push those glasses up constantly. She was skinny and her jeans full of holes hung off of her. Behind the bar was a spotless stainless steel espresso machine and next to it was the espresso grinder. Rows and rows of flavored syrups were lined up against a mirror, just like alcohol in a bar. The young girl would make the same drink over and over for herself. Her drink was a caramel mocha with and extra shot of espresso and just enough room on top for the whip crème. One may have to know coffee terms to understand this but I have worked in one for years.

So absorbed was I in studying my surroundings, that I barley saw a boy walk in from the now downpour of rain. With him he carried a leather guitar case covered in stickers of various bands. Without even being told he set up and started strumming away on the acoustic guitar. Slow melodious notes that seemed sad and depressed, as if the guitar was crying, echoed through the half full coffee shop. He was totally fixated on his playing. After each song the girl behind the counter would quietly applaud, sometimes her claps being the only ones. She stared at him, and it was actually the first time this girl ever looked interested in anything. She kept bringing him hot coffee, two sugars and one crème. He would hold it between his hands as if he were trying to warm them up.

When the rain had let up I decided it was time for me to go. I packed up my books and things put on my rain jacket and slowly walked towards the door. As I got closer to the door I noticed all of the posters for various concerts going on in the local venues. I had friends in some of the bands on the posters.