Creeping in the Friendly Neighborhood

The sharp creak of the wooden doors is the only sound that punctuates the mix of shuffling feet, steaming espresso machines, and whispers of good conversation.

“Order up! One chai latte for here,” shouts a tall, thin, brunette girl from behind the counter of the homey cafe.

A young blonde girl scoots back from her small wooden table, placing her wrinkled newspaper down and making her way towards the hot beverage waiting for her. On her way back she passes a litany of wooden tables lit only by dim fluorescent lights and the overpowering sun streaming in through the few windows interspersed around the shop.

With her chai in one hand, she navigates her way back to her newspaper, passing an young group of college students who are exchanging excited murmurs with each other over a folded newspaper in between sips of coffee.

“No way. That’s too many letters. I’m looking for a four letter word. Sonic the Hedgehog maker,” says the tallest of the four.

“Oh man. I never played that game. I don’t think I would know it even if I did though,” laughs his stocky, bearded friend.

While the two wordsmiths contemplate the crossword, the short redheaded girl and her dark brown-haired friend sitting at the same table giggle together over their adventures from the night before.

“He totally went for it,” says the redhead, “as soon as we were alone he kissed me.”

Her friend lets out a pitchy squeal that makes the two men working on the crossword take pause. “Shut up,” she says!

“He totally did it,” reiterates the redhead.

“Oh my god! How was he? Was he good,” the brunette asks, peppering her friend with questions. But before she has a chance to answer-

“Sega,” shouts the tallest, drawing stares from other customers tucking into their food on this late Sunday morning, “It’s Sega! Sixteen down is Sega!”

The outburst is quickly forgotten as the shuffling of feet and microwave oven beeps sound off from behind the counter.

“I’ll have a tall house coffee and a cream cheese everything bagel to go,” orders a tall middle-aged man from underneath a massive beanie.

“Room for cream,” asks the tall, slender and youthful barista?

The beanie shakes left and right to signal no and with the ding of the cash register, the older man sits down at a table.

The time begins to approach mid-day, as the creak from the cafe’s doors becomes more frequent with the lunch rush. A stream of mainly 20-30 somethings form a queue in front of the counter, as the sweet smell of coffee and pastries slowly gives way to a savory aroma of cooking food and fresh air.

As if someone hit a dimmer switch in the cafe, the clouds make their way in front of the sun and soft rain begins to fall outside.

After looking outside, an elderly couple enjoying their lunch can’t help but laugh with each other.

“Good thing we brought our rain jackets,” says the squat older man, giving a knowing look across the table as the lunch rush barrels on.

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