Friday, October 04, 2013

The Keys To Our Cafe

It was weirdly sad picking up the keys to the cafe today. You could feel the emotions the owner was feeling. I had been thinking about how she must have had pride in her cafe, had believed that it was worth so much more and now was scrubbing and cleaning in preparation to leave. We hadn't purchased her goodwill, had not been interested in her recipes. Harsh facts in the real world but as bitchy as she was the other day when we visited with the health inspector, she's as human and vulnerable as the rest of us. Far from wanting to pop champagne corks, I wanted to hug her and say sorry it didn't turn out the way you wanted. We didn't go in for the kill, we just did the figures and made an offer that we thought was balanced. It was a fraction of what the broker had set out with and initially didn't look at all viable. In the end, it was the only offer to make it through, and the owner probably fully believed we had gone in for the kill. Not so.

But that loss of her rundown, threadbare baby. The place... it really felt frozen in time. As though if you had walked through the door seven years ago when she took over, it would have been exactly the same. The pictures on the wall, the chipped crockery, the recipes... I'll bet nothing has changed.

For someone who had finally taken possession of the cafe they had been in talks about with for so many months, I felt pretty damned gloomy.

Then the broker walked in. All smiles and congratulations and this is so good - you got an amazing deal and where's the solicitor with my cut and you guys are going to kill it I can just tell. She congratulated us again and hugged and kissed us and all I could think is are you totally without a heart? Do you have to be like this here in the kitchen? In front of this poor woman? Does money mean absolutely everything to you? At least have the decency to leave this until we are outside away from this sadness, this palpable sense of loss.

I should be high-fiving the way the broker was. But I keep thinking about how the former owner and her family must feel right now. There will be celebration for The Dreaded One and me, just not right now.

The cafe had a wall full of black and white, Italian photos, and I had wanted to keep one of these amongst whatever we decorate the wall with, as a nod to the former owners. Then she was rude to us and I thought fuck that. And now I feel like this and wish I could have asked for just one of the pictures when the son said they would remove them all. I'd have happily left one there. But they are all gone.


Bright Precious said...

Love this so much, Lee. Sensitively done while still be true to yourself.

Lee Bemrose said...

Thank you Deb. Just feelings in words. I feel differently about them now that I've spent two days in the cafe. Looking forward to making this place our own. And when it's our time to move on I certainly won't be leaving it in the state they left it for us.

But yeah. It was a headfuck at the time.

Y said...

Beautifully written, and congratulations on the new place.

Guyana-Gyal said...

You are a sensitive writer, no matter when you felt the words!

As both Precious and Y said...

Lee Bemrose said...

Probably too sensitive, sometimes. But thank you, Y and GG.