She welcomes all. We strangers and our coffee (we’ve learnt not to ask for milk), and her strangers who introduce themselves afresh every morning. Nick Cave bounces off the timber panelling. She channels him as she polishes wine glasses from last night; it seems the most perfect union. The dark wooden tables and stools and chairs are stained and worn with time and wine. It’s grey outside. And cold. But honey warm in here.
The day is new, she’s been here forever. She moves around the bar like I play with my hair: fluid and absently. No thought to the mechanical tasks of placing cloth to table, or lifting coffee to mouth. Even cheerful and teasing banter need no concentration. She’s both present and miles away.
“The value of permanence must be proven, not merely assumed”