One day without warning there existed a cafe in the sky. It wasn’t as if it had appeared over night, as if an entire cafe had just sprouted into existence between the stars and the moon. It wasn’t anything as spectacular as that, unfortunately. Rather one day without warning it drifted into town, parted the clouds and sat on a piece of pavement. A cafe, just floating on by.
Everyone was up in arms about the cafe in the sky. People screamed heresy, that the aliens had finally come to take their due. Some prayed to the cafe, saying it was some kind of religious symbol. Perhaps God was ascending to the moral realm to– 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. 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 business simmered. No one cared anymore. The cafe in the sky still loomed about in our town and its customers were drenched in ennui.
I visited the cafe in the sky on its backend. 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 above. Apparently, the old couple lived on the platform, and also managed all their stock from the sky. 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.
The cafe wasn’t anything special. 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 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 and a good look inside that I realized I had entered a cafe. It was spaced out in rows with empty tables and chairs. As I took a seat, Marie had come out of a door fixed onto the connecting wall to the kitchen and taken my order. There was no menu. 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. 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 slowly, then trudged to the window, where his eyes focused onto something in the distance. I took a sip of my coffee. It was unbelievably bitter, and nowhere in sight were any sweeteners. I wondered to ask them. But, 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 with a blank expression. 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. He took a seat near the window, his eyes never leaving the sight of the outside.
“Has it always been this empty?”
“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.
“Would you want more customers?” The words came out of my mouth before I could realize I had spoken.
“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?” 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? Do you think I’m happy then?” He smiled at me. His smile was unbelievably filled with youth. I couldn’t speak.
“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. 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. The words in my mind ceased to exist. As if his eyes shattered my every being.
“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 left the cafe in the sky after finishing my coffee. 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. I went back to my ordinary life soon after.