Wednesday, 5 March 2014
The All Dayer
Beth looks surprised to see me so early this morning; I have a long day ahead of me. Breakfast. Lunch. Cake. I settle myself at a table, plugging the laptop into a wall socket behind the bench. Today I'm not sitting at my favourite window seat, I can't have any distractions - not cars or lorries or passers by in lurid yellow jackets - I have to get my head down, finish the final chapters of my novel; it's taken far too long. So I decide on a small square table near the counter instead; tempting croissants, scones and teacakes behind the curved glass panel. I'm hungry.
I overhear a conversation on the table opposite. A stocky bloke has had his working day cut short. He began at six, crashed his van, has to spend the rest of his hours getting the damage sorted. What a shame I think, to have the day turned over like that, like a spoilt pancake. I am curious about the pile on his plate. Quesadilla, poached egg, avocado, round fat slices of chorizo sausage. I change my mind. I can't have toast. I can't have porridge. I need protein. 'Beth, can I have eggs benedict with bacon please?'
...Eggs ben, yummity yum. Thick comforting hollandaise sauce, yolk soaked muffins; this will fill the spot, just the ticket for the words ahead.
Coco, the chocolate brown labrador, insists on curling under a table next to mine. I have to mind my legs, wouldn't want to squash her soft splayed paws. Coco is an old, sad eyed dog; the cafe's mascot and namesake. She lifts her head, her legs, and takes a lumbering stroll about the place; under tabletops, the odd sniff of a chair leg, flops her body back down, expends a doggy sigh.
A mother makes herself comfortable with her fourteen month old toddler. A wriggly pig. Her daughter won't sit still. She smiles a mouth of sharp front baby teeth, giggling, tapping on her mother's ipad, prodding it like a puddle of mud. We are all enchanted by her, the way she points at a cup, and spits out tested syllables. They don't stay long, time for a play in the park...
By lunch time I am lost in nouns, verbs and sentence structure. Customers come and go. I pay little attention, if any, to their shapes and textures; only the vague hubbub of chatter around me. I need something simple. I look up at a black board on the wall. Soup. That's what I'll have. Vegetable and white bean soup. Lower on calories, a compliment to the morning's egg fest. Slurp. Tap. Slurp. Tap. I can write more this way... but it's not as easy as it looks; I have to wipe thick gloop off the keyboard several times.
A group of tanned women, dressed in bright lycra and track suits, talk exercise and detox. I feel guilty. When was the last time I did yoga? Surely it wasn't three days ago? I don't care. I will have a slice of cake. I will. I will. I will...
A three year old jumps up and down on his sister's pram. She screams with bubbles and delight. His parent's don't seem to mind, he's entertaining his sister, a window for proper chat. The pram wobbles, making an unsteady lilt to the side. A parental hand stabilises the carrier. 'Stop that,' a voice reprimands, 'stop that right now.' I need another cup of tea.
A pit stop. The cake. A moist slice of lemon and blueberry drizzle. An all time favourite. Tart in my mouth, crumbling on the plate, fuel for the afternoon. I order an extra mug of hot chocolate; forget the calories, I need the word count...
And I don't leave until Coco closes, until I'm past two thousand words.
If you like my writing, you could do two wonderful things for me (pretty please);
1. Vote for me in the MADS (best writer). 2. Preorder my anthology, Seasons Of Motherhood (published in March). Thank you.