One day without warning there existed a cafe in the sky. It wasn’t as if it had appeared there over night, as if an entire cafe had just sprouted into existence between the stars and the moon, and had landed its way onto Earth. It wasn’t anything as spectacular as that, unfortunately. Rather, one day, without warning, it drifted into town, parted the clouds, and, there it was, sitting on a piece of pavement, a cafe, just floating on by.
Everyone was up in arms about the cafe in the sky, people were screaming heresy, that the aliens had finally came to take their due. Some prayed to the cafe, saying it was some kind of religious symbol, a call from Christ, God ascending to the mortal realm of… No, it wasn’t any of that. It was run by an old couple Randal and Marie. Apparently, it was their dream to run a cafe in the sky, and, they had been operating for over fifty years. Apparently, they hadn’t a single customer until they ran into our town. The first few days were an uproar for them, they had customers building ladders, a hot air balloon service was made to rocket people up onto their platform, and some even sky dived into the cafe. But, eventually, it died down. No one cared anymore. The cafe in the sky still loomed about in our town, and, it’s customers were drenched in ennui. Eventually, no one went anymore, but, it wasn’t that the cafe in the sky had chosen our town to settle that it stayed for as long as it did. In fact, no one, not even the owners knew why it had stayed in our town.
I visited the cafe in the sky on its backend, when no one was going anymore. All the services had long closed shop, and the profits had already been collected, and so, I contacted the owners to see if they could spring me a ladder from up above. Apparently, the old couple lived on the platform, and also managed all their stock from up there. They didn’t import much goods, but rather had an expansive backyard for all of their ingredients. I never did get the chance to see much of the land, though, it was something I wasn’t particularly interested in either.
The owners of the cafe happily accepted my request, and, on the date we agreed on, sure enough, by the front of my house a ladder was dangling about leading into the cafe in the sky. When I got onto the platform, I was surprised at the lack of any real change in how I perceived the world. I wasn’t light headed from the high altitude, I didn’t feel any sway from the fact that I was essentially standing on a floating rock, and, upon looking onto the cafe itself, I was surprised that I had climbed a ladder to get there in the first place.
The cafe wasn’t anything special, in fact, it would have fared quite well on Earth, where the ground wasn’t floating and business was more stable. It’s bricks were nothing I haven’t seen, it’s windows were of glass, and its door was wood. Nothing of the cafe spoke of its notoriety as the cafe in the sky. A part of me was disappointed in seeing such a plain looking cafe.
Upon opening the door, a chime resounded above me, and, while I perked up on the suddenness of the chimes, I neglected the smells that wafted into me. It wasn’t until I had the door closed behind me and a good look inside that I realized I had entered the cafe. It was spaced out in rows with empty tables and chairs and not a single person to wait on me. In fact, it wasn’t until I had taken a seat that Marie had come out of a door fixed onto the connecting wall to the kitchen and taken my order. There wasn’t a menu to go by either. In fact, the walls were all too barren, with only the view of the outside sky to accompany the place. If I sat for too long, the smells of coffee and toast would have driven me insane.
In the end, I ordered a coffee. Upon receiving my order, a few moments later, Randal had come out of the door holding a plate with a steaming cup of coffee. He placed it onto my table with care, but, instead of heading back, he instead trudged his way to the window, where his eyes seemed to be filled with a wistful disposition. I took a sip of my coffee. It was unbelievably bitter, and, nowhere in sight were any sweeteners. I wondered to ask them, but, upon seeing Randal stare out into the window, and the poor state of the establishment altogether, I swallowed my request. Instead, I took another sip, and, as Randal turned with a stale expression over his face, I asked, “How has your day been?” He looked at me in what I could only describe as disbelief. But, soon, his face was washed over with a smile, and he turned back towards the window.
“The same as its been for the past fifty years.” His voice was rough and slow. He spoke each word fully, not missing a single letter, and was in no rush to answer my question. He then took a seat near the window, his eyes never leaving the sight of the outside.
“Has it always been this empty?” I asked out of no consideration towards tact.
“Yes, yes it has. Though, just a week ago we were brimming with life. Can you imagine that? This place was lively, so full of it.” His voice wrapped around him in a wistful blanket. The way he sat, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he was really a statue.
“Do you wish that more people came here?” I didn’t know why I asked the questions I did, but, it felt right somehow, asking him. It validated my coming to the cafe in the sky.
“What do you think?” He asked in response. I was left dumbfounded, and he laughed.
“Do you have a dream?” He asked.
“Something you want to do? Something you want to achieve?” When he asked me that, I was left to wonder. In all honesty, that was the first time I’d ever had the chance to wonder. I couldn’t answer him.
“Whatever it is, I’m sure you want to get there someday. And when you do, what do you think will happen?” I couldn’t answer him.
“You’ll be happy, maybe?” He continued without regard to my silence, “That’d be nice, right? To be able to do something that you dreamed for and be happy. That’s what everyone wants to do of course. Who doesn’t.” But, maybe it was because of my silence that he was able to talk.
“This was my dream.” He got up from the window and began to trace his hands over the empty tables and chairs. His rough skin looked like it would scrap itself off at any second.
“I’ve done it. I’ve made a cafe in the sky. That was my dream. I never asked that anyone else be here, so why should I worry?” He smiled at me.
“Do you think I’m happy?” His smile was unbelievably filled with youth. But even so, I couldn’t answer his questions. Perhaps, somewhere along the way, even I grew uninterested.
“But let me ask you a better question,” he continued, “do you think it’s okay to be happy?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?” That one, I could answer. It was shocking enough to spring me back to life. He began to walk towards the front door. His eyes rested on the chimes that stood atop.
“I’ve been up here for the past fifty years, but, I can guess that life down there hasn’t changed for a single moment.” He then shook his head and turned back towards the kitchen door, his eyes never glancing towards me.
“So, why did you come up here today when no one else will?” Without warning, he looked directly into my eyes. For some reason, I wasn’t able to produce any words. It was in that moment, that I began to realize how feeble I actually was.
“So, even after all that you still can’t answer me?” He laughed, “Just like everyone else that comes here.” He then pointed to his head, “The air here might have gotten to you.” He aptly left, leaving me to my own devices, my mind swirling on… I couldn’t say exactly, but, I left the cafe in the sky a few moments after finishing my coffee. The ladder was still there, still at the front of my house. After climbing back down, I took another good look at the platform that floated in the sky with the cafe abound. It had begun moving, and the ladder was now closer to my front door. I figured it was leaving soon, finding its way to another town. But, I couldn’t for the life of me care for it anymore than that. I went back to my ordinary life soon after.