The Cafe.

I received some devastating news a couple of weeks ago. My favourite coffee house is going to be sold. Now, I love this place, the current owners are just so friendly, welcoming and seemed to love where they were, I was so shocked to hear they were calling it quits. 

I used to get excited planning my week around going and sitting in the window drawing and watching life pass me by. This cafe also had the best food, but my favourite was their coffee; fresh pressed ground coffee with caramel popcorn on the side and the final luxury was the timer to let you know when to press the plunger. This ritual was an indulgent treat I would allow myself on a Friday, right before crazy school pick up. This was a time were I didn’t have to deal with house work, kids, or my job, it was where I “met” myself at the end of every week, I loved this time. 

But it will no longer be, the owners are leaving and I am bitterly disappointed and nervous. Not because of the loss of the ritual but what will go in its place? Will it be the same? Will there still be a friendly yell out “hello” from the back of the kitchen when I walk in? Who will quietly hand me my coffee or water as I zone out to my page or the characters outside? What if the cafe becomes a clothing store or something completely different?

All these questions spill forth at the thought of this pending change, but one thing I do know is that my wonderful moments in the Chieftain Deli window may cease, and how completely sad this would be.

This event has inspired my latest drawing:

Titled “The Cafe” – Felt pen and water colour acrylic on paper. 

Along with this news of the closure of my beloved cafe, I have also experience the painful realisation of a deep friendship irreversibly changed. Just like the sudden knowledge of the cafe ending I went to dinner with a friend and left the restaurant unsure how to even move forward with the information that had been imparted during the meal. Amongst the very hurtful things that were said to me during the dinner I cant help but wonder, was it my friend who had altered or was it me that had changed to the point of disturbing frustration? This thought blows my mind even now as I type these words. Can a friendship of nearly 20 years just suddenly end? Can you just walk away from that amount of time? 

Over the years this friend and I have had many adventures and lots of fun, mostly involving all girl holidays and road tips, playing Pool, drinking and dancing into the early hours of the morning. She was my bridesmaid and I her’s, and when I had my little baby, she was the first in line for god parent. However over the last couple of weeks I have been asking myself, why did I not see this coming? Could I have prevented this in anyway? Why was I so oblivious of this change until it was yelled at me across the restaurant car park? 

Looking back, I had noticed that things were slightly awkward when we chatted over the phone, and then catching up with other people or parties, I felt a slight distance that made me nervous, and quiet jugdy remarks from her that stung. I wasn’t quite sure what it all meant and I put it down to something other than what it was, I mean it couldn’t have been me right? 

Thinking honestly about this, I feel I should take responsibility a little as I should have asked her if there was anything wrong or if she was all right, when she started behaving negatively towards me, and at the very least I should have set some boundaries when she was nasty, but in my defence I have never needed to do this before, I thought I was safe with her. Maybe I didn’t ask because deep down I knew what was going to be said, which is that we have changed and our friendship has moved position.

However I feel all is not lost, maybe there is still hope for reconnection and the friendship be rekindled. With the aid of time and a healthy set of boundaries, maybe the rift that has cut through our trust and faith in each other can be mended. Like getting to know the new cafe owners and being open to the different way they make coffee. Maybe we have to simply get to know each other again, and learn to appreciate and respect the different roads we have taken, I guess only time will tell.

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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