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Gloria Jean's Coffees

I stepped down from the 422 bus in January 2006 onto the pavement in front of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, as a light drizzle of rain danced on King Street, Newtown. I walked past the row of metal chairs and tables on the street for patrons who wish to smoke and sit with their pets. The interior of this American-style coffee house has that of a Parisian atmosphere, mixed with the non-matching clutter of retro furniture. A large painting, resembling a chalkboard with a stretched feminine face drinking coffee, is on the wall of stripped bricks.

I stepped aside to let a young deathly pale woman float past me dressed in a black corset with a flowing black crepe dress. This Goth woman was leading a small silky-haired terrier dog wearing a smaller version of the corset. I was sorry I did not have a camera in my possession as this moment was one I wished to capture for infinity. The population of Newtown consists of a bizarre mix of individuals including myself which is why I choose to live here. I then noticed Anthony, my friend, sitting in the middle of Gloria Jean’s Coffee sipping a light Latte, engrossed in reading a scientific magazine.

“I sensed it was you”, said Anthony as he continued to read an article on solar panels.

I sat down on the armchair opposite him, “How is life treating you on the whole”, I asked somewhat guardedly. There appeared to be no response to my question.

Irritated, I decided to go and view the delicious, examples of cakes and fruit breads; which can make for a difficult choice. I decided on my order consisting of a light French vanilla slice and a large strawberries and cream drink. Rony who was also the Master Franchisee took my money and attended to matter of blending my drink and adding extra whipped cream. The French vanilla slice was also served with three swirls of whipped cream.

“I must congratulate you on getting a place at UTS” said Rony with great pride

I was surprised as I had not informed him of this fact.

I should not be so surprised, as he showed me a great kindness when I had a very bad fall as a result of being pushed down the stairs by a Chinese male relative near the Sydney Opera House last year. Rony supplied me with more than ample supply of ice to stem the haemorrhaging of my bruises on my left knee and leg. I had been expecting a new black bar refrigerator to be delivered the next day and I had defrosted the old one which was way past its use by date.

I collected my order and sat down opposite Anthony.

“I would like to show you my text message from Janet”, said Anthony, with an anxious tone in his voice.

I read a request that he should make her pregnant and sought an explanation from him.

Anthony said, somewhat sheepishly, “Janet is frightened that time was running out for her to have a baby”.

I had the impression of Anthony putting himself forward as an item of interest in an auction catalogue waiting for the highest bid to unfold. My reaction was somewhat hostile as I said, to his astonishment, “I believe this is too much information.”

I could almost hear the ticking of Janet’s biological clock and how it would be the downfall of my friend Anthony. “You are adult enough to make your own decisions in regard to what you want from life”, I remarked somewhat coldly.

I stood up slowly and walked outside to escape into the day which had turned very dark. On reflection, I realise that Anthony was trying to push the boundaries of our friendship into a more personal domain. He will learn as time passes that I will always love another man from my past life in the twentieth century. The rain pelted down in sheets of damp despair on a day I could well do without.