Its warm in this cafe. It's pouring outside, just as it would inevitably be in Eugene in the winter. But rather than being damp and sweaty and smelly it is warm, with a cool breeze from the cracked window next to me and it smells like citrus perfume, coffee and my apricot tart. The sound is the most lovely, it is loud with voices speaking dutch and english and it is just a quiet murmur for a minute and then it all picks up again… or perhaps thats just how I hear it as my attention fades in and out. From my perch there is a perfect viewing of street life and indoor cafe life. There are kids in jelly boots running rambunctiously around the large table in the center of the room and I can see the waiter in the corner of my eye on his tippy toes avoiding them. It is as if I am in a cartoon and everyone is beautiful and happy and there is nothing particularly horrible about life at all. It is all warm and dry and smelling of coffee and citrus. And I am smiling for now, because it seems that I have been able to let myself be swept up in the dream and not remember that I have to get back out on that bike I forced myself here on and try and tackle the road again (I am a bit petrified of it today.) What if my brilliance last night of finding my way and leading our little caterpillar-trail of a group back through the crazy streets was all just beginners luck and I had been just inches away from my death by cab, or bike, or moped, or building and I was just too naive to notice?
There is a giant stroller next to me now and a very beautiful man is here with it and his three children. There is a blissful infant on his lap, a boy about 3' next to him eating a salad and omelette and a blonde ponytail across from him eating tomatoes and something steaming. Why does it seems as though he totally has it together!? All these people look like they had some magic crew of people wake them after a rejuvenating night of sleep and given them the hollywood treatment, delivered them by chauffeured car to this cafe just to be seen by others. In any American city you can find these same people. They all have three kids, except the infant is screaming and there is goop dripping down its face, the boy is throwing a chicken tender at me and the ponytail is texting. Finally someone's child at the other end of the table screams…phew. But I still believe that the beautiful man probably biked here miraculously pulling the stroller along the cobblestones attached to the back of his bike by some fantastically machined clip that hooks on in one-fell-swoop and he and all his babies bike away, holding hands and avoiding every raindrop.
Perhaps this is all an exaggeration but today, my damp frizzy hair and anxious heart are in awe of this place.