I was originally at another table, but quickly moved when I realized that there was one of those scrolling advertisements out the window directly in front of me. It has just finished raining outside and already the sky is filled with blue. Just before it rained the street cleaner came by and hosed off the sidewalk, giving it as thorough a cleaning as one can in sixty seconds with a high pressure hose. Now the sun has come out and soon the sidewalk will begin to recover from both inundations. Across the intersection to my right is the façade of the Gare de l'Est with its great half circle of windows and line of arches underneath. An imposing stone figure site on top in the center, just above the word "Strasbourg."
My table is round, but not too small, marble-topped with a brass ring encircling it. My coffee cup and saucer are decorated with tiny rows of aztec curls around the edges and green bands hung with laurels, a small blue flower in the center of each strand. The espresso came with a glass of water. Perhaps I looked like the sort of person who needs to dilute his espresso a bit, or maybe they serve water to everyone, I don't know. I drank the espresso, and then chased it down with the water, as much as it is possible to chase down something you have sipped slowly. Before that, I helped sweeten the deal and cool it with the two sugar cubes with which I was provided. There is a plain black plastic ashtray on my table, no design or writing on it at all.
A mother and her son were sitting at the table next to mine earlier; they were American. They didn't stay too long and left behind them a bite of bread with jelly on it -- the tip, maybe?
Metro: Gare de l'Est
Sugar: packet of 2 sugar cubes
Copyright © 2003 David Sadegh.
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