‘Oh how I have longed for a café that stays open past the hour of six,’ I thought as I stared forlornly out the H37 bus window. No sooner had the thought entered my head that the bus passed Abacus coffee house, a sign on the door saying ‘Open till 11pm.’ Were my eyes deceiving me? It is true that anything beyond a three metre radius becomes a slight blur for me, but I felt that I had reason to shove doubt into the tight crevice of my shorts pocket.
Upon getting off the bus and approaching the café, my hopes were confirmed. The café interior seemed dark, but probably only in comparison to the brightness of the outside. As I reached the counter I was of course crippled by indecisiveness, a response to the array of teapigs teas on the shelf. I settled on peppermint in the hope that it would settle and refresh a slightly hung over and torpid state.
I placed myself on the sofa under a Jules et Jim poster, hoping to channel French New Wave cinema as I got my notebook out. I had started writing a few words when my tea arrived, accompanied by a little bowl to house the soggy bag once it had been squeezed of all its minty goodness. I watched the tea infuse and turn golden as a teenage girl told her father how one of her friends didn’t have any common sense. ‘Well, she has more common sense than you do,’ he replied. Her protestations were drowned out by a group of men coming in to have shisha out the back.
The writing on the front window was reflected on the wall as the sun set, the words ‘whole leaf tea’ gradually disappearing. The words from my pen had ceased to make themselves shown in my notebook, so I abandoned the writing to make use of the free wifi, seizing upon the signal’s strength to stream live radio. The sound of funk permeated through my ears whilst I delved into Chekhov, and as the clock struck nine, I quite fancied that Abacus could be my new local café, or perhaps an office in which I could abandon doing work to escape into Russian literature. I chortled at the last few lines of the short story, the words on the wall having completely disappeared.