By Shin Yiing Lee
As I was fumbling for my wallet at the front door, a man appeared on the other side struggling with a drink in each hand. I held the door, and he murmured a quick thank you before hurrying off. Possibly late for a meeting.
The gentle whirring of an open chiller filled with freshly made sandwiches, was in sync with the folk rock music playing from the speakers above. The song chimed “Should I stay or should I go” repeatedly, joined in by the tapping and shaking of legs to the beat.
“Hi! What can I get you?” A chirpy voice from behind the bar greeted me. A friendly smile from the barista behind the till was just what people seeking refuge needed, knowing that their busy lives that will resume outside the cafe doors.
“A flat white please…. Oh wait no, a regular latte please!”
“A flat white, yeah? ”
“No, no, a latte”
“Oh! Sorry.” The barista was a little flustered by his mistake and knocked over a stack of cups, but his quick reflexes saved it in a second.
“It’s too early in the morning” he said to shake off the fumble while gently laughing it off. I paid for the drink, then headed to a little corner to take a seat.
Around me, the walls are painted in a sort of dark muddy green. It wasn’t a disgusting green, but one that makes you feel serene staring at it. The coffee machine starts up, followed by a loud screeches sounding from milk steamer as my cup of coffee was being created.
A group of girls clad in denim jackets and converse sneakers were lounging on one of the antique looking sofas, discussing third year plans. Getting rather worked up about their scores. Opposite them sat a lady, bent over low scribbling notes into a book.
The general atmosphere in the cafe was calm and relaxing. The only person in a hurry was probably that man a minute ago. University students seem to have conquered the cafe, with their ammo of MacBooks propped on the tables, earphones stuffed in, and papers sprawled all over; eyes fixated, minds focused.
Around them are people in threes and twos sharing casual conversations, sipping from their cups every once in a while, but chatting more than actually drinking their caffeinated beverages. As opposed to how we think the purpose of a cafe is for drinking coffee, this cafe seems to be more of a place of rest. Rest, away from the world outside.