The True Love Café stood out. Though I had never been inside, it seemed to capture my attention. It was not particularly attractive on the outside, painted a deep shade of purple, with a giant heart scaling the front of its building. The inside, which I could only gather from looking through the windows, was just the same. Unattractive under dim lights (and probably more so amidst bright lights), chairs and tables could be seen in the presence of tall plants, sad looking palm leaves and house shrubbery. Not as appealing to the eye as one would think or hope for a place with “love” in its name.
Only the outlines of figures could be seen, like shadows blurred in the background. A man behind a counter, a few people spread among eight or so tables, moving slowly, making their time last in beats. It seemed quiet to me, as though anyone on the inside could be sheltered from the city sounds, from the noises of streetcars rolling along the tracks, people trudging down sidewalks, bikes, cars, trucks, horns honking, dogs barking, hollering for apologies and yelling for the sake of yelling. It just seemed as though time stood still here, and that it stood quietly with a grin of contentment.
I had never seen anyone enter the café, nor had I ever seen anyone exit. Yet whenever I passed by there were always people inside, perhaps just a coincidence of timing, or perhaps not. Though I admired the pace that seemed to be present among them, the folks inside always seemed quite unwell from where I stood. Why were they able to be so still, so present in their moment? Were they not flooded with the commotion on the outside? How could they not see or hear the masses that passed them by beyond the walls of the café? What content they must have.