Don't you just love it when your bladder screams out to you in such a way there is no ignoring possible and you are forced to walk (or run) into the first bar you see? Often this is not a place you would choose yourself. But it's your bladder who makes the decisions. You think it's rude to just use their toilet and leave, so you stay. You order something you know, so you have a little point of recognition in this unknown place. Clumsily you take your pot of tea and pastel de nata and choose a seat in the middle of the action.
You settle, take off your coat, breathe in and look around. The only language spoken is Portuguese. The place is filled with locals of all age and size. Three grandmas with golden earrings and comfortable shoes catch up over strong coffee and sticky cakes. Behind me, an older man with large glasses reads the newspaper. He does it so passionately, he seems to forget about the world around him. It's like everything stopped. The ladies chatting, the rain pouring.
Next to the cigarette machine, a young couple is talking slowly with next to no sound leaving their lips. Then there is this loud voice, a woman asking questions left unanswered. Sometimes she yells, leaves a bit of time for silence, then yells some more. I wonder if the person on the other side of the line is screaming too, or trying to calm her down. Above everything, there is the zooming of the fridges, dripping of the rain and shouting of orders behind the neon lit counter.
And in the middle, me.
Out of place but fitting in. Using my hands to wipe off the cinnamon from my face, smiling at the old ladies with a mouth full of pastel. Recognizing myself in each and every one of these customers. Blending in like a regular and thanking my bladder to lead me here.