He looks at the steamed up windows. He feels the need for respite from the cold and dreary world outside. The rain has beaten his thick heavy-set coat and slowly begins to touch his skin underneath. His cold and desperate fingers turn the door handle and, after a brief reluctance to move, the door pushes open. The jingle of the overhead bell signals to the world that another person has arrived.

To his delight, the cafe is warm and inviting. The contrast from the grey shadows outside is markedly different. His senses are bombarded with noise, chatter and vibrant colour. The coffee machine that sits behind the counter sings loudly with melodic whistles  It steams and gargles relentlessly and yet does not look tired; instead it proudly continues in its servitude without a trace or whisper of discontent.  The display of cakes and the smell of baking fools him into thinking that he has entered a mother’s kitchen from years past. He half expects a red-faced shapely woman to tousle his hair and call him ‘son’ as she plates him a slice of her home-made chocolate cake. Everything is so beautiful. He feels a keen sense of belonging.

As he stands in line to receive his order, a freshly brewed coffee from the obliging and overly cheerful machine, and a warmed scone that looks like it has just won a contest, he looks around and surveys the bustling scene. There he sees the cause of the chatter. Mothers talk expressively to their children as they explain everything that they see in warm and doting tones; men sit with other men and raucously laugh at a witty tale being told by the animated speaker, who is clearly enjoying his moment in the spotlight; and women who are sitting with their friends and talking about life, love and the universe in a candid and meaningful way.

He takes his seat and melts into the chair. The cold outside is now a distant memory. If he closes his eyes he could well imagine himself in his grandmother’s house with all the family sitting around him. Although alone, he feels content and totally at ease. The worry of the day is forgotten and he feels secure in this bubble that has enveloped him. As time stands still, and he drifts into pleasant thoughts which caress his mind and soul, he only has one thing he would change in his life…

…his wishes that it will stop raining before he leaves.

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