Downtown is, as a rule, less crowded on Monday. And, since it’s summer, the light lingers longer in the evenings. Two explorers have agreed to spend their Monday evenings exploring the workings of downtown. One explorer is decidedly less familiar with the area, but is excited because she has discovered new places to experience. Most notably, a coffee/book shop that’s taken over the ground floor of the old city hall. The architecture is stately, but not ornate. The book shop is on the right and bleeds into the coffee shop on the left, at the back. Old books, not for sale, decorate the walls. The coffee shop offers hard, straight-backed chairs and tables. One explorer discovers that the couches on the left side are free. She missed them because they were occupied on her first visit. One couch is a big, squishy ordeal of fake leather. It smells ever so slightly of mildew. You sink deep into the cushions when you sit on it, and it’s almost like you’re sitting on the floor, only much more comfortable. The other couch is a light colored fabric, tattered in places. Both couches are obviously old, worn, and well-used.
One explorer proclaims that she has found a new favorite place. Despite the mildew smell.
The explorers each get a coffee, and one gets a cupcake while the other gets a cookie. Everything is delicious, and the sweets are messy to eat. Once the sweets are gone, the two set to their evening plans. One pulls out a computer to write for her blog, and the other pulls out her writing journal to explore an idea. New places are often too distracting to focus on writing, so the one spends more time looking at the shop than at her writing journal.
The book shop is small, so there aren’t many choices. Different shelves are dedicated to different genres. Above the couches are some books that have been destroyed in a decorative fashion. Music plays faintly in the background, almost too faintly for one explorer to hear, though the other one can hear it more clearly. She supposes she must be closer to the speaker. The music is mostly older classics. The one who can hear the music recognizes “Itty Bitty Pretty One,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “What a Wonderful World,” to the dulcet tones of Louis Armstrong.
People come and go. A couple on a date, most likely a first date, stop at the counter to order. The man-boy (“Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy. One would think his mother’s milk were fresh out of him,” Shakespeare, Twelfth Night) is overdressed for a coffee shop in a suit ever-so-slightly too large for him. The girl is under-dressed compared to her date. Subtle hints in their mannerisms indicate that there is not likely to be a second date. Something about the distance they stand apart or the slightly dissatisfied expression on her face.
The explorers don’t talk much, focused more on their writing, or their observing. Closing time comes without them fully realizing it, and they are graciously reminded that they need to leave.
Adventure for some explorers doesn’t always involve a lot of action. It’s not always organized or planned out. Sometimes an adventure can just be sitting in one spot, soaking in a new environment, enjoying the company of a good friend.