“Seats and Tables? Clean and organized.”
“Coffe machines? Up and running.”
“What else am I forgetting?” Resting his chin on his palm, the large man opens his eyes and proceeds to his establishment’s backroom.
“Almost forgot about this thing!”
The man produces a standing chalkboard from its box, along with a box of colorful chalk. What followed was the sound of a person passionately hitting talc against a piece of wood in order to produce words, or art, as it was in his head.
Several minutes later, the man emerges from the door of his café with his work under his arm, propping it on the sidewalk.
“Now Open,” he brushes his chalky hands against his apron, leaving colorful marks, “Miguel’s Café”
With the morning sun hitting his back, he stands proudly before the culmination of his hard work and dreams; a place to call his own, and a place to share his cooking and fine brews to the world.
“My very own place,” he flipped the sign on his door in order to let the whole world know that he is ready to share his life’s achievements to the world “Time to get to work!”
So he said, if there was any work to be had in the first place.
With each passing hour, the empty room was only filled with the cool wind of the air conditioner, the whirring of the refrigerator, the sound of Miguel’s bated breath, turned into airs of boredom, and finally, sighs of disappointment with a hint of sadness.
“Well to be fair it’s just the first day!” he excitedly told himself. Although he knew fully well he was lying.
Pulling at his beard, he eagerly sat at the counter all throughout the eventual passing of the day, until the yellow of the sun turned into a beautiful shade of orange passing through his large windows, allowing him to finally let go of the breath he did not know he was holding. Followed by another one. And then another one. Tons of sighs of differing emotions escaped his mouth, until finally it turned into a scream of anger.
“Why?” Miguel tensed his hands, shivering with annoyance directed to no one in particular. Miguel slumped over the counter and stared at the window, counting the minutes before closing time, while making amends with himself for the very lackluster opening of his pride and joy.
The bird chime at the entrance let out a pleasant tune as the door opened
Miguel, snapping back from his pity party, jolted himself upright with the potential to turn his day around.
“Welcome-” Miguel pushed his glasses up in order to make sense of the blurry figure before him, “Welcome to Miguel’s Café!”
The tall, slim man at the door replied with a smile.
“Could I see your menu please?” The man asked, extending his hand forward.
Miguel nodded, obviously trying to hide his glee in order to keep a semblance of formality, and handed the potential customer a slab of laminated paper. Miguel could do naught but follow the man’s eyes dart from left to right, eager to know if he could chalk this day as a success and pin it in his mental fridge, or toss it into his imaginary trash bin full of regrets.
“Alright, I’ll have the cappuccino please.” The man said, returning the menu back to Miguel.
Ending his agonizing wait, Miguel supresses his emotions and gets to work, swiftly and gracefully maneuvering around his workstation. The customer’s eyes open with surprise, eventually turning into a smile of amazement and awe at the precise movements the man is making despite his large build. ‘Who knew watching a man wait for the coffee to drip could be so entertaining’ he thought to himself, resting his cheek on his palm.
A few moments later, Miguel comes out from behind the counter to serve his first customer his drink.
“Thanks for waiting,” Miguel laid down the man’s order one-by-one from the tray he was holding “I hope you enjoy your mea- drink.”
The customer pursed his lips in order to seal in his laughter, for one small sound could paint Miguel’s cheeks with a lovely hint of pink. Instead, he focused on his drink, with a cute cat sculpted using the foam. Marvelling at its overwhelming cuteness, he quickly drew his phone from his pocket, snapping pictures at different angles. After a few snaps, he finally gives in to the teasing aroma of the cappuccino before him. He held the saucer and cup and gently brought it up to his lips in order to take his first sip after a long day.
The customer’s eyes shot open.
“Is something the matter sir?” Miguel worried.
The customer lost all his composure and lost his gentle touch, proceeding to down his entire cup. Slamming the saucer down with an impressive force, he took a napkin and swiped it across his lips. “Refill please!”, the customer stared at Miguel with intensity.
Dumbfounded at the speed the customer drank his coffee down, Miguel stood there with his mouth hanging open.
“You got it!” Miguel proceeded to make another cup with even more gusto.
After six cups, the customer finally had to concede due to the limits of his own wallet, paying his final total before leaving. Grabbing his bag from his seat, he headed for the door, and faced Miguel.
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” the customer said.
“I’ll be looking forward to it. Thank you!” Miguel replied.
The customer smiled warmly at Miguel and waved goodbye, until finally being out of his sight. Miguel clutched his chest, letting out a sigh of relief, all the while feeling the heat from his cheeks. Grabbing a copy of his customer’s receipt, he put it up on his refrigerator using a flower-shaped magnet.
Miguel took the chalkboard in and closed up shop, making sure to jostle the doorknob several times in order to ease his fear of leaving his store open. Miguel walked home, deep in thought, with nothing but the moonlight and rustic streetlights illuminating his way, and the purr of cars passing by disturbing him.
Miguel halted his pace at the bridge, still thinking about what just happened. “My first customer, huh.” Miguel stared at the horizon, gazing at the beauty of the reflection of the moon on the river.