Vignette (2)

The shop is tiny, the very definition of a hole-in-the wall – at least, assuming there is a wall. People huddle together, each staring at a smartphone or with headphones on. They’re all waiting for their turn to order a coffee, and they pay quickly.

The outside of the store is very plain, advertising coffee and foods at bizarrely low prices. There’s no decoration, nothing to catch the eye beyond the expected shop name and window. Next door, the restaurant with the bright-yellow awning and chunky black lettering looks garish, conspicuous.

People hurry past the yellow awning, rushing off to proceed about their evenings. None of them pay any mind to the little restaurant, where I can see a middle-aged man working over a griddle. A baseball cap covers his face as he flickers between two stovetops, piling some kind of bread or pastry onto a plate. The stack looks precariously tall, and I can’t place exactly what the items on the tray are.

Despite the busyness swirling just in front of his shop and the lack of an earphone wire, he appears oblivious. His concentration doesn’t falter, and I take a moment for envying him the focus he has. There’s no-one else in the shop, no patrons that I can see or other co-workers.

He’s in his own oasis of calm amidst a busy city street.

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