The Brownstone Cafe
By Ken Kakareka
People were coming and going, coming and going. I was at the Brownstone Café and had
just finished my breakfast.
“More water for you sir?” asked the waitress.
“No thank you, I’m good,” I said.
A little kid was playing a video game on his mother’s phone, or perhaps it was his own.
Frank Sinatra’s baritone weighed down the melancholy air.
“Have a good day,” the waitress said.
“Thank you,” said another customer.
People were coming and going, and some were just sitting. I was just sitting as a fly
buzzed around the remnants of my French toast.
“We needed to make a reservation,” said a girl.
“We didn’t need to make any, there’s no one here,” replied a guy.
The two bickered in front of the seating podium, and the waitress came out to lead them
Water trickled in a fountain nearby with lilies. The waitress moved about hurriedly in her
black shirt and leggings. The faded, brick building and rustic furniture remained the same.
I sat in the shade looking at the sun. A mother with her children and their nanny sat at one
of those tables in the sun.
“NO, NO, NO, CARLA JEAN! THAT’S A BIG NO-NO, DON’T YOU DO THAT!”
The mother’s face was red-orange like the tabasco sauce in the little bottle on my table.
On the bottle was a handsome Mexican man smiling in his sombrero.
Beans swirled around the bottom of my coffee mug with chunks of dissolved sugar.
Before the sugar dissolved it had been in cubic form, but now it was broken apart after it entered
the hot water.
The two of us were once solid like the cube of sugar, but now we were broken. We had
also entered hot water.
It was silent between us. Towards the end, we said things just to say them, but now it was
silent. We kept it that way at the table. There was no searching for words to say just to say them
anymore. It was over. We didn’t look at each other as I stood up and my chair nicked along the
cobblestone. We just stayed silent. Maybe we wanted to say something, but there was nothing.
At the Brownstone is where we left it.
Ken grew up in a small east coast town and graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in English. After college, he moved across the world to somebody else’s small town in South Korea to teach. He currently works at a reading and writing center in southern California.