Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Better Latte than Never

The girl whose name I do not know was standing on a chair with her back to the cash register when I came in. She was writing words on a blackboard, and I stood there and watched it.

Give the One You Love

Here she stopped, looked around, laughed and came to the cash register.

"Now I'll never know how it ends," I said. "I'll be tormented all night"
"Oh, it's just something like Give the One You Love ... ", she said, ending with some inaudible phrase. "And how was your day?"
"Alright," I said. "I've been here and there ... here and there..."
"What would you like?"
"A latte, of course." I said. "And make it good! This will probably be the last one I have...."
".... why?"
"I'm leaving Newcastle soon. Flying out on Sunday."
"Oh! How exciting for you! Why?"
"I've got some full time work in Victoria, with my brother."
"Well... Good luck!"
I turned to go to the table, then said, "and ... could I have a slice of rocky road as well?"

Taking the table I usually took, a single far back in the room, I settled back with my book and watched the people behind the counter. The short girl with thick glasses was jumping up and down, saying something to the older woman - probably an owner. The chefs were moving around behind the coffee machine.
Shortly the girl came in with a plate of rocky road and a latte.
"I'll just go and get you some cutlery," she said, and went out for a second.
"There you go," she said, laying the cutlery on the table.
"Thankyou very much."
There were two slices of rocky road.

It had been a strange day. I'd taken a couple of farewells from people I knew in the city. First there had been Callan, in Graphic Action. I walked about the store; I was browsing amongst the magazines when James shot out of a door in the back shouting something about prices. "Hey, Tim," he said.
"Hey, James," I said, before he disappeared in the back again.
After chatting to Callan, buying a comic from him, talking to him about my new job and move, I left. I told Callan, 'say bye to Liam and James for me.'
Later, I walked down to the Second Life bookshop.
"Hi Tim," said Liz as I walked in the door. "Haven't seen you in a while."
I left twenty minutes later with a copy of Helen Fielding's Cause Celeb in my hand.

Sip. Slice.
I alternated between glancing at my book, cutting slices of the rocky road, sipping the coffee, and looking up at the blackboard inventing alternate ways to end the sentence.

Give the one you love ... to Satan, for the Dark Lord will get them in the end anyway!

Give the one you love ... an orgasm. Nothing says I love you better than that.

Give the one you love...

I leafed idly through my book, some short stories by George McDonald. I generally try to read or finish a crossword when I'm in the cafe. I usually end up looking at the people around me.
Sip. Slice.
I leafed idly through the book.
Sip. Slice.
The girl finished the sign:

Give the one you love ... time off and treat them to a Valentine's Meal at MARTINES!

Sip. Slice.
I continued eating and leafing my way through the book. The latte was good.
(Once, for the hell of it, I'd come in and asked for an iced-coffee. "And how was it?" she had asked afterwards. "Oh, not bad," I said. "As iced-coffees go."... She'd frowned at this.)
Presently the girl came in and started moving about the room. She picked up two chairs from the table at the front and took them into the chamber, in front of the checkout counter. She laid one chair down then put the other chair on top of that, back pointing down to the ground. She came in and took two more chairs from that table, pushing the table out of her way, then took those two chairs out and laid them down in front of the counter.
Sip. Slice.
She moved to another table and took the chairs out from that. She continued to move around the room, taking out the chairs from underneath the table and laying them out in the front, working her way further into the room.
Sip. Slice.
I noticed how she carefully worked her way around my table, not taking any of the three empty chairs away. She started to bump into tables. Several chairs had been laid out in the front room.
Sip. Slice.
I pretended to be reading my book.
Eventually, I finished my latte. I left the cup, saucer, and plate on the table, then took up my book and took one metal chair in either hand.
"You don't have to do that," she said.
"I thought you could do with some help," I shrugged.
"I get paid to do it," she said. "You don't."
"That's fine," I said, paying my bill.
"See you later."

Still haven't finished my book.


Anonymous said...

You're moving!

I leave you alone for one second and THIS is what happens!?!?

Will you be taking this blog with you or can I finally have all your ideas?

Grrr... that's what I thought.


TimT said...

My blog's going to remain where it always was ... which is, here, or there, or elsewhere, or somewhere else.

The Lioness said...

Since Blogger loves me today, I'm finally commenting here. (Let's see what happens when i press Publish) I liked this. I did.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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