by Roshna Rusiniya
Five days! That’s how long Marta’s little cafe has been spotting the “CLOSED’ sign. I don’t ever remember seeing that sign before. What happened to her? I wondered. Marta was my Nana’s friend. Nana used to take me to her coffee shop all the time. Marta would give me iced coffee and cold turkey sandwiches. Afterwards, she would hug me and tell me that I had beautiful eyes and that would make me blush.
Then Nana was gone and I felt completely lost. She was the silver lining at the end of all my dark clouds. I still continued visiting Marta’s Cafe. Marta and Nana were alike. They both were loud and beautiful. They both had an air of warmth around them that made people feel instantly welcome. There were times I almost called her ‘Nana’. Maybe I should start calling her that. I don’t think she would mind.
I asked the man in the antique store next to her cafe. He laughed at me. “Don’t tell me you miss that old lady’s lukewarm coffee and dry sandwiches.” I didn’t explain. He wouldn’t understand. I asked the lady in the flower shop across the street. All she knows is Marta’s son has taken over. But she doesn’t know where Marta is. Marta kept to herself I think. All good people did. Wherever she is, I hope she is ok and I hope she is happy.
One day, on the way from school I saw it- the missing ‘CLOSED’ sign. I couldn’t wait. I pushed the glass door and entered the cafe, my eyes immediately searching for Marta. To my utter disappointment, Marta was nowhere to be seen. Instead I saw three men standing in the middle of the cafe shouting instructions at each other. One of them spotted me and came forward, with a surprised look on his face. He looked vaguely familiar. Oh wait. He has Marta’s eyes, but lacks the same warmth. Is he the ‘son’?
“Hi there. The cafe isn’t officially open. Can you come back in a week?”
Ignoring his polite suggestion, I pointed at the big, shiny looking machine sitting at a corner of the cafe. This is new.
“What is that?” I asked.
His eyes followed my pointing finger.
“Oh! It’s a high end automatic coffee machine.”
I know about them. The big offices in town have those machines. Not that I have been to any. Emily told me. Her dad works in one of those places.
Marta’s son went on to proudly explain about the machine. I caught the words ‘efficient’, ‘easy to operate’, ‘time saving’ etc. I am not interested in that fancy knowledge. There is only one question I want to ask before I leave.
He might think I am stupid. But I still asked anyways. “Does the machine give hugs too?”
About the author
Roshna Rusiniya is an aspiring writer based in Qatar. Her works have appeared in 101 words. com, Didcot Writers, Blue Animal Literature, Friday Flash Fiction and Muse India. Her twitter handle is Rosh_ Rus