I sit here at my usual table, in the usual seat. A worn, wooden paneled wall is on my right. I face the door.
The walls are barer than usual, paintings one by one disappearing throughout the last couple of weeks as Soonae and Jong slowly dismantle the Best Place That Ever Was.
Today is the last day for this place, Cafe Commons, while my tunnel vision is here, focused on the virtual page which fills with words even as the Cafe empties itself of its identity. Maudlin, I know, but melodrama protects me from tomorrow, when I won’t be here. When the cafe won’t be here.
Soonae and Jong will still be here, in the City. And I am close enough to them that though our contact may end up less frequent, the time spent will be of longer duration and better quality. â€œI love you both,â€ I wrote on the matte of surrounding a picture intended for all comers to sign. â€œYou are my family.â€ There’s no shame in admitting things that are true, no matter the context, no matter who will see it and wonder at its veracity.
I know it’s true and so do Soonae and Jong, and that’s all that matters.
It’s difficult to pick my head up and look around. There’s a somberness and solemnity that flows near the feet, like hollywood fog or witches’ brew. So as long as you keep your head up, at the smiles that are forced (but not in a bad way), you can imagine that now goes on forever.
I focus on the good; Soonae and Jong have been logging 87-hour weeks (each!) and so I am looking forward to their being able to slow down and rest. They’ll have so much more opportunity for enjoying their lives instead of running this cafe all the time.
So I’ll miss Cafe Commons, but a place is just a place. It’s the people that count. And to me, Soonae and Jong count more than almost anyone.