The rain had given me a break, but I was beginning to urge to take shelter somewhere. It took me a while to choose a cafe. Having passed several establishments none seemed to convince me (again). In the end, I decided to stop in front of one whose windows had large green letters. I must admit that I have a certain weakness for green.
I walked towards it and stood in the entrance, confused: it seemed to be closed. It was quite large and dark, and to my regret, at first glance I found no sign of life inside. However, something quickly caught my attention: shelves full of books decorated the walls on the second floor. I love places with books. It didn’t take much more to encourage me to confirm that the place was really closed.
I felt a certain joy when I discovered a door miming between the large windows that gave way when it was pushed. I then wondered how many more people would have received the same confusing message as me. I went inside and decided what I was going to ask for. A good book and a hot coffee or tea on a rainy day is a perfect combination, I would even say magic. It’s like a kind of ritual that further embellishes the atmosphere already created by the act of reading itself.
While I was ordering my cup of coffee, I took advantage of the moment to talk to the two managers, who, bored, were busy with the few chores that a café where I seemed to be the only customer could offer. I dared to convey my admiration for the shelves. They responded gratefully with a smile. With my prize in my hands, I asked them if I could access the tables on the second floor, which they kindly agreed to.
Once I reached the tables and was close enough to the shelves, I experienced a mixture of surprise, disappointment and fun at the same time. The shelves and the books existed, yes, but they were painted on the wall: they were painting books. From the street I did not have an adequate reference to be able to tell the difference. I found the situation comical to say the least.
I sat down at one of the many empty tables, as close as possible to the view offered by the cold window caressed by the rain. As always, I warmed my hands with the cup, took a sip and opened the page that I had been reading about in the small park moments before. When I took a slight glance at the front, I discovered a man in an armchair, dozing. I wondered how long he had been there, and if you ordered them they would have forgotten about him, as the rest of the world seemed to have done.
The music of a radio station was heating up the atmosphere. It seemed that I was trying in vain to hide the silence that reigned in the empty establishment. On certain occasions I was distracted from my reading by the sudden increase in volume, which, discovered and embarrassed, dropped back into the pleasant and respectful initial volume. I again observed that person curled up on the armchair, hoping to discover some sign of life in him. He did not seem to be bothered by the uncontrolled music. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t the people in charge of these comings and goings of the volume, which seemed to be definitely broken.
I deigned to admire again the picture that the window was giving me from Madrid. That greyish and humid landscape of a day in November seemed to me to be perfect. A peace difficult to explain was evident in the atmosphere and embellished those minutes of reading and coffee, in that cafeteria of books painted on the wall. It is wonderful to be aware that every moment is worthy of being made memorable. There is always the opportunity to make it memorable. You are the one who has the last word. That’s how I wanted my afternoon of reading and coffee to be, memorable, and that’s how it ended up being.