I’m sitting in that café again, same place. Through the glass wall I see summer dwellers passing by, sometimes throwing a glance my way, almost flinching when they see someone looking out as they look inside. I’ve been here before. To be more exact, I wrote to you from this very armchair. Do you remember? Just like today it was a sweltering day in the end of july. Just like today I was one of few people opting to sit inside, away from the sunshine, when suddenly the sky opened and rain poured down. It was unusually heavy, the kind of rain that floods the gutters and pools in the street. People were seeking cover from it in doorways or running with their handbags and newspapers over their heads, water splashing when their feet hit the pavement while others just gave up, grinning while they calmly let the rain run down their scalps and soak through their clothes. Then, the sky cleared and the sun came through although it was still raining lightly. The pavement was glistening. I remember thinking it was beautiful, magical. I remember wanting to tell you all about it. I did too, as I always did when I found those things of beauty, those moments of magic.
I found magic in anything, everything. I found magic even in your absence. And your absence was all around. It was an endless source of inspiration. Thinking back, I don’t really know what I thought.
It’s been years now. Things have changed of course. I don’t think I see magic that much anymore. Maybe I don’t look for it. Maybe I just got older. We sure grew up, didn’t we? Could you even say that we’re the same people as when we were 21-22? No? I think we are the same. The same as we were back then, but somehow squashed underneath the necessities and emergencies of daily life.
I got the picture you sent me a while ago, the one where your little boy is watching cartoons on television. He sits weirdly perched on the back of an armchair, his little body turned away from the camera. The hair is mussed on the back of his head – is it morning, or is he just a late sleeper like you? It would make sense if he was. Behind him there’s a big window that is partly opened, showing the palm trees outside. Strong sunlight seeps in to the room through the blinds, creating ribbons of light that touches the armchair, the coffee table and your son’s foot and a sliver on his back and it makes the room look … magical. Yeah, magical.
I look out of the window. It’s all grey. I’m done. I collect my things, then I put the empty cup and platter on the tray and place them on the cart that serves to that purpose. I leave.
People you once knew
Walking my baby back home
One Monday afternoon
Looking for escape routes