Across the street is yet another Indiana Café. At a nearby table in front of me is an old woman dressed mostly in black with a tuft of white hair sticking out of what appears to be a black kneepad on her head attached by a string under her chin. Her black dress, almost completely hidden by her black coat, is short enough to reveal little strips of skin just above her dark brown calf-high hose. Her feet move anxiously about and twist around each other as she finishes her meal.
Outside, the yellow umbrellas are folded down and large aluminum ashtrays absorb sizeable chunks of the surface area of the small round tables along the side of the café. My inside table is larger, square and flanked by rust-painted metal chairs with green turquoise cushions.
The glass of water I asked for came in a short whisky tumbler. The sugar for my espresso came in cube form in a white packet with a picture of a smiling frog that seems to be levitating slightly above blurred water lillies. It's an educational sugar packet, for next to the picture -- in case there was any doubt -- is written "La Grenouille."
If I could see through the menu posted on a maroon stand outside I would be able to view the large stone lion that defends the Place Denfert-Rochereau. There's a slight drawing of the lion on the top of the menu cover on the table next to me, but it's as if the artist started to draw the lion and then ran away, leaving it an unfinished white ghost of a lion sculpture that hardly seems fitting for a café that would dare to ask three-eighty for a Coke.
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes
Price of a Coca-Cola: 3.80 euros
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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