Spying in Springfield (Gateway)

It’s 11:39 a.m. and jazz music is playing in the background but the sound is muffled. The constant “shhh” sounds coming from the steaming espresso machine mixed with the baristas taking orders overwhelms the elevator-like tones being emitted through the speakers.

One of the baristas makes a couple of iced drinks.Ice is scooped and then dumped in a plastic cup sounding like a miniscule avalanche. Scoop, thud, thud. Scoop, thud, thud.

A few tables from the counter sits a group of three older people. One on side, a woman with completely white bouffant hair. She wears a long white sleeved shirt with a red scarf draped loosely around her. She holds a pen in her left hand with a notepad in front of her. Next to her, a man, perhaps her husband. Across the table, another woman. She sits up straight, elbows off the table, perfectly manicured hands holding onto her drink. They begin to discuss a banquet that the woman with the red scarf is planning.

The two women brainstorm place settings, napkins, plates (they decide on paper), and snacks. The woman with the scarf writes in her notepad as the brainstorm continues.

She pauses to discuss the pressure of planning, “I went through all the trouble to see what Mary-Ann wanted. She said she will bring garlic bread.”

The conversations transforms to discussing the perks of therapy for their mutual friend, “Lorna”. The man at the table once again becomes interested when the conversation turns to the Super Bowl.

“Now, the two coaches are brothers and their parents are just very cute,” says the woman with the scarf, easily dominating the conversation.

The main entrances remains busy as customers come in and out. As the door swings open, cold overwhelms the area and then the door closes, restoring warmth.

The baristas tend to customers at the counter while handling the drive through window as well. Conversations, inside, remain at a dull medium sound level.

At 11:56, a woman in a bright pink peacoat walks in with two daughters; both are in pink jackets.

Instantly she recognizes the group of three at the table and walks over to them, “I see your getting your after-church coffees,” she says. The group discusses the services and the pastor and share excitement over an upcoming concert in their church.

The group disperses and the woman in pink takes her daughters to the counter. She lets them pick out a pastry from the display case. The girls look around excitedly as their snacks are put into paper bags and their mother pays at the counter.

Through it all, a young couple sits at a table across from each other. Each holds their own newspaper in front of their face, reading silently. Only adjusting to sip their drinks.

By: Caitlin Taylor

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