“Excuse me, are you guys open?”

The young man lifted his head from behind the counter and blinked. “Oh yes, yes. Let me…” He ran to the back of the cafe and turned on the lights. It’s very dim and the wooden tables feels like plastic.

“Sorry…” the young man mumbled politely and vanished from eyesight.

We chose a table and sat down without confidence, hoping the yellow lights would brighten up. There’s a bookshelf and we kept our attention there for a while, discussing what kind of books Tzuchi donated to this store. Then we talked about business. It must have been more than 10 minutes when impatience clicked.

“Hey, are we supposed to order something?”

“Oh yes… I guess so!”

I actually meant to say something else. “Let’s go to another cafe. It doesn’t feel very relaxed here.”

“What are we gonna say to him? I don’t know what to say. Or you can tell him?”

“Ok, I know what to say.”

We got up and tried to look for the young man in the dim, gray cafe space. He’s not at the counter anymore. His puffy hair led us to his new seat behind a divider made of wooden sticks. His head was low and seemed to be studying hard over some papers.

“Excuse me…”

His head shot up and formed an expression of both worry and politeness.

“Excuse me, sorry, we’re going to leave. We decided we probably won’t…”

I gestured my hand towards outside. He looked apologetic. “Ok, ok, please.”

We left the cafe, running into an older lady with a wide smile. “Welcome, welcome.” We walked past her and left.

“I hope he doesn’t get punished!”





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