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saturday @ doma

The four women sharing a table watched as a man walked in; their eyes moving from his long white hair to his bearded face to his watermelon sized belly. He stopped on the way past their table and asked if there was any space. Nobody had greeted him. One woman smiled and said sure – then they all started to move, packing away phones and newspapers, finishing coffee.

He looked over their table litter, asked if they were through with it. The same woman said it’s all yours and as they left he turned to the serving window. The hair on the back of his head was nested up, a minute from the pillow.

On the way out I walked past the table. One of the girls had cleared it of everything but the half-eaten remains of a morning cake.

The cafe manager prefers to eat his lunch at a table in the park opposite the cafe and after carrying his food over he returned, went inside the cafe, reappeared and was met at the entrance by woman. He stopped, placed his hands by his sides and bowed once as he spoke her name, then bowed again as she spoke his.

The girl taking orders had only a small grasp of the language, mostly names. Names to go with the coffee.

You see those people out there, I asked her, sitting outside drinking your coffee, eating cake?

She nodded.

Everyone has their own name. Bill, John, Eva. You know?

Such a direct gaze.

And even though they have their own names, in this place they also have the same name.

I tried to say the name in the language she was familiar with.

‘Aaaiyiu.’

 

Later, on the way out, I spoke to a local girl clearing tables.

I think I confused your friend behind the counter.

She stopped her work and looked up.

I told her that if she was to go to the door of the cafe and call hey you, your coffee’s ready, everyone would turn around.

 

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