He pushed open the heavy door and made his way to the counter, his motions as routine as brushing his teeth. He glanced over the counter although he knew what he would order and the girl behind smiled at him, recognising a regular customer. The early morning rush was over and done with and neither he nor the girl were in any hurry now. He stated the complicated formula that would make his morning just perfect, one of those concoctions that American style chain coffee shops specialise in – all froth, sweetener and flavoured syrup. She turned to the other counter and started brewing whilst keeping up the easy, friendly patter of small talk. Within moments, she was ringing it through the till and he handed over the money, just a few hundred pennies.
He picked up the coffee, glanced around the coffee shop to see if his favourite table was free. It was, he knew already, he’d checked before even he’d even walked into the shop, checked again when he was placing his order. He walked over, leisurely rather than purposeful, although he wouldn’t have been comfortable sitting anywhere else. He picked up a discarded newspaper along the way then settled himself into the big, puffy leather armchair.
This table was the best in the house, tucked into a neat corner where he could watch both the inside and the outside worlds, king of all he surveyed. He took a long sip of his drink before placing it carefully back on the table, measured motions. He would make his coffee last a long time, carefully timing the last few sips for just before it got too cold to be pleasurable. It would be a couple of hours before he would leave but the staff didn’t mind him sitting here even after he’d finish his drink, he was a regular after all.
Enthroned in the deep armchair, he felt cushioned and protected from the world about him, as if he could see out but no one could see in. He glanced about, the shop was quite empty at this time of morning, the few other faces were familiar, regulars like him. There would be plenty of time for people watching later, instead now he flicked open the newspaper and scowled at world events.
Just a few hundred pennies that bought him a few moments of peace and relaxation out of a stressful life. He felt that this was something that he deserved, a right that he had. What were a few hundred pennies after all? What price this pleasure? It didn’t matter that there were places that he should have been or things that he should have been doing. Nor the fact that the money had come from the envelope marked ‘mortgage’.
I’m a little over the word count this week (461) but I have been under of late, so maybe that compensates!