They all had the same smell. It was over-roasted and covered in powdered sugar but it was a smell that many people welcome. When the door swung open those on the outside rushing past could hear the tinkling of porcelain and the sounds of chatter and occasional laughter that filtered through the air. Overheated air would rush out to meet the frosty outside air.
People would work there, laptop screens glaring back at them and papers surrounding them coated with coffee sup stains from the countless refills they had ordered all the while the shop bustled and faded around them. You could hear the coffee machine working when there wasn’t a rush and people worked, drank and ate in silence.
The glow of the lights was dim above the customers head and cast everything in a warm yellow hue. It suited the warm air and raising steam of the hot drinks that sat on every table. The longer people sat the more layers they began to remove. Scarves were unwound and jackets slipped off shoulders as they settled into the heat of the cafe.
It was a bustling feeling, sitting there. Watching as the world continued to move and evolve without you. But there was also the underlying separateness that echoed from the walls that created the distinctness of the cafe. It created millions of moments outside the immediate one that was peoples lives, it created possibilities and a haven away from mundane reality.
The smiles, quick glances and laughs were trapped beneath the walls and were written in the food and drink. It was hundreds of hidden moments that were trapped and protected by this little coffee shop. People came and paid in experience. It was life in a bottle.
A door clicked open and warm air met the newcomer, some glanced to see when a shock of cold air met the cafe, but the smile of the barista was knowing. Come in, relax and enjoy a delight. Pay with your moment.