Metro café

It’s busy already at fifteen minutes past opening. I have ordered my coffee and forgotten my glasses – only one of those happens on a daily basis. The coffee machine slurps and hisses, psyching up for a big day. The baristas, Leticia and Hannah, gird their loins, I imagine. They work as fast as they can for many hours. The cups and teaspoons clatter in the distance like chirping birds greeting the Thursday morning. Mark, the manager, laughs from behind the counter – is is joyous and a reminder that life is good.

The people next to me eat warmed almond croissants and the smell is enticing. One day soon, I tell myself. My coffee arrives, delivered by the lovely Irene, a Greek girl who delights in family, music and, it seems, her job in hospitality.

I sit at the bench in the window – my usual spot. I overlook the main commercial street of Mount Gambier and the original stone civic buildings – arches and columns decorating doorways and windows. It’s not overdone, though. They had an eye for balance. The modern gallery spaces, carved out of the disused theatre, echo inside. It’s a pleasing juxtaposition.

The sound builds – voices, noises of industry, cutlery on crockery, music in the background. It is called hubbub for a reason – the dull waxing and waning has a bubbly feel. Mark laughs again as he serves the first of the post-exercise class that come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a big group – always good to get your order in before them. Breakfasters begin to arrive, sliding into the prized booths and fluttering over menus. There is a brightly wrapped gift, too. Someone’s birthday, perhaps.

My coffee cup is empty. I barely noticed it, but feel warm inside. I am also nurtured by routine, familiarity, and the care I receive. My coffee may cost $5.50 but I receive much more than I pay for.

Until next time,


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