Friday, 29 June 2012

16 kisses!

I’ve sat here before, but never this early – the sun is still mild even if it is mid-summer but the windows and doors of the café are open allowing the morning air to reach me at this table where I sit.

Outside, though now the distinction is nominal, six elderly men meet, shake hands, shift chairs and then separate – some entering inside for further shakes, the others sitting back down to continue their coffee and conversation. Across the square under the trees, the kids wait for the start of school, and their exams.

One lights a cigarette, two throw a rugby ball to each other, others stand and talk. They are wearing shorts and look ready for the beach as soon as the exam is done.

On the square the market folk are gently raising their stalls, the carpet man has hung three – a leopard print, a patchwork and one that looks like sand.

Yet any beach is far, even though the summer is here. It will take a hard two-hour drive and I have to go to work.

A girl arrives among the students – long black hair, short black shorts – and kisses each of those waiting by the trees. A kiss on every cheek. 16 kisses.

Not that I’m watching.

Not that I’m jealous.

Inside, if it is, four men are playing cards; two stand and watch. Elsewhere someone is reading the newspaper another sits and thinks.

My coffee is cold, my orange juice too – this is correct for one, not for the other.

I have eaten a croissant.

The carpet man has hung a fourth rug – checked squares. It’s ugly; he will not sell this one.

Two people leave, one enters.

He says hello to the man reading the newspaper – they shake hands. He talks to a neighbour his left hand in his pocket, his right gestures softly. He leans towards the sunlight and then turns to look toward the bar. He moves to the car players, shakes each of their hands and those of the two men watching. He stops and watches, his moth ready to speak, his eyes alert to each card played.

The man thinking is on his own at one side He is still thinking. A hand covers his mouth as he rests his head in his palm. Is he sad? His face says yes.

A man with a dog arrives, they enter, they exist, though it’s the same thing and choose a table insideoutside. He, the man, places his cap on the table, places a croissant on top and chooses the chair where I can no longer see him.

Just the croissant ontop the cap.

The sound of murmured conversation and an occasional cough and distant traffic mix with the clatter and clink of saucers dried by the patron behind the bar. Some words escape and hang suspended – soir, bon, prochain, bon journee, oh!

The man with the dog and cap and a croissant in his tum, enter with an empty coffee cup, place it on the bar and then leave.

A man with an armful of red t-shirts walks past; the newspaper reader and his friend rise to leave. Their chairs scrape on the floor, salut, au revoir.

The smell of cigarettes drifts through the open door

The coffee machine growls.

The waitresses footsteps tap across the wooden floor.


Anonymous said...

sun, at least you have sun
helps the poetry
rain, flooding, hot water bottles in June, doesnt help the poetic mind, maybe more time to sit indoors and write....poems....fedup ones.

popps said...

rain, flooding, hot water bottles in June
No fret, don't worry, it'll be over soon
fed up , fed down, fed in fed out
put your pretty knees in and shake them about.