Latte on a Sunday
Posted on April 27, 2017
It was the street I only knew for my sweet tooth, the ice-cream shop. Now, it is the street where I’ve recently moved in to, and where my parents would have said to stay away from or to avoid if I were alone. It is also the street I have to cross to have a latte on a Sunday afternoon.
Believing most shops will be closed, the fried chicken and ‘King of Kebabs’ suggestive smell hits my nose and awakes my hope. Right beside my door, there’s a florist who puts small vases of flowers on the street, displaying roses per 6 pounds in a place where there is no natural green. The few trees standing are rooted in plastics and smoked cigarettes. That itself could ruin the enchantment of any place. But not in here. Not where everything is exposed, even if it is the expensive jewellery right on the corner, or the dark side of poverty on a pleading men’s empty hand. Pushing the button and waiting for signal opposite, a few people, less than normal, cross the road before the light even change. They know this road, this place. There’s no worry, nor hurry on their faces. They have no where to go, no place is packed and people lazily stroll their shopping trolleys, replacing the kids on school days. They enter every store trying to fill the bags, and their time, as if slowly the materialistic world filled them in.
Almost without realizing, I enter a street market. There’s no clue of coffee, but I keep flowing into the straight passage. Right in the middle two brothers with identical red jackets share biscuits, as the older one would say if the two-year-old understood what was happening. A man walks his bike, and people don’t swear when eventually someone cross their path. In fact, it’s in the middle of the market that they recognise themselves. Wasting one minute of their lives asking how they are, and meaning it. It doesn’t seem London. Here everyone knows each other. And I understand why. I pass the same person once, twice. In time of catching the old man on his motorcycle stealing a strawberry that quickly hides in his mouth.
Here the smell of fish dominates while a remix of ‘Would you like some fruit?’, ’Three for two, Three for two’, and Eminem’s songs try to convince me they have the best deal as two, three, four places sell the same.
Here we can find everything. From Primark bags, to hands’ cream, or shower gel that we usually find in ordinary supermarkets, and I wonder who buys those stuff in a street full of them. The fruits are all organised for bright colours that the sun, escaping from behind a few clouds, seem to help selling. More than the ’10 apples for one pound’ sign.
Right after leaving, I notice a couple choosing corn and other simply eating from the same ice-cream on a street bench, while a Borough of Southwark’s worker fetches KFC papers and coke cans that flied and rolled down for miles on the sidewalk.
Focused on every place with neon signs saying Open, I can almost hear the buzzing sound when it flashes, as I keep looking for my latte. I end up passing a dark-brown-dog with his tail down, near the closed sausage store that seems to understand my temptation, and annoyance. Every store is full of Halloween sweets and decorations, but no one buys them, nor spend two minutes doing those corridors, no one wants to have their three, four kids moaning to buy those things. ‘It’s too early’ moms say among telephones charges and fruit bowls, where we can also have our hair cut in 10 different ways.
Then there’s this house, with a roof full of pigeons, and I want to be precise so I start counting them. Ten, twenty, fifty. But there are more, and more are arriving, while others fly away from my phone’s camera, and I give up wondering what holds them there, all turned to the same side.
In front of Morrison’s, a man fixes a broken Iphone in the middle of the street, with a single tool, patience. Being the fourth supermarket that I pass, I decide to buy some coffee and a new white mug. On the queue is a braided-hair-girl, with her little glasses reading a yellow book without pictures, looking comfortable sitting on someone’s luggage, taking her eyes of the page only when her mother calls from among the crowd that almost crushes her, not forgetting to mark the page first, mimicking the crowd surrounding her, in a rush. The only place where the bips from the check out machines contrast with the lack of tired sighs ordinary in weekly days. Ranya’s cafe emerges right after buying mine, which helps me understand how much escapes from me on this street.
I know I’m arriving home, when my eyes land on the small Brazilian place and I ask myself if I could enter just to hear my mother language.
When I arrive home, I tell my friends that I found two, three, four places to paint nails. And in all of them Chinese women and men wear masks, hiding the smile to their clients and doing the same job. I also watch the sunset from the kitchen’s balcony meditating on what I saw, and how this street is the place where everyone follow us, not in a way that would worry my parents, but with eyes full of curiosity and will to sell fruit after watches after fish after hats after seafood after everything, except the coffee I pour into my new white mug.