Coffee and yellow lights

Sometimes in small cafes that stay tucked in-between arrays of square buildings lined on busy gray roads with moving yellow lights, I find little images of me peeking at me from under my coffee mug. In these cafes that open up to the sky from hidden rooftops, just when it gets dark and the fairy lights begin to glimmer, when my backpack stares at me expressionlessly from across the table, I find myself.

Can it be that I leave little crumbs of myself in discreet spots of cafés that hide me from life?

Maybe with every sip I slurp, seated on high wooden chairs, I leave at the rim of the mug, a little bit of the madness in my mind.

Maybe the tissue paper I used last Sunday, to wipe some lonesomeness off my eyes, maybe it let some of itself vaporize into the air which now remembers me.

Maybe when the café swayed to the speakers, to Alanis Morisette’s What if God was one of us, when I sang along mindlessly, the words chose to remain still in the air. Maybe the tune knows me like I know it and dances to me like I do to it.

Maybe the little notes I scribble on tattered pages, in between quick bites, unfold themselves from my jar of tales and doodle the evening air with weird shapes to remind me of something that’s my own.

Or maybe, the distorted yellow reflections on the glass jar lamp tell me a little about me, the little bits that I constantly forget. That I have to be retold to believe.

Maybe as I sip the warmth of the coffee, I drown in it. Maybe just in that second when I lose myself, I find myself.

Or maybe, maybe it’s merely that lonely tables have seen me bare, stripped off the shiny coats of pretense, deep inside the layers where my fears dwell. And when the chill hits my unclothed skin and I wrap my olive green patterned shawl tighter in an intimate self-embrace, maybe it is the cafe that envelops me, comforts me. That second, the yellow lights sparkle for me, like kisses directed to me. And that instant, I find home, while in hiding. Each time, the find is revelatory, the excitement is fresh.

Sometimes, just sometimes like these, I find home when I run away, when I hurry into unfamiliar corners where no one’s watching. Where there is the wooden floor and the hazel sky above and just cold air in between. Where suddenly life is just about coffee, yellow lights and soft music. Where all around, I see unknown human beings stir tales into coffee with three spoons of sugar and swallow worries sweetened with doughnut icing.

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