For a moment or two, each morning, my eyes see only a blur. Patchy sunlight wraps around the few things I own. It feels heavy for a while, often a little daunting. But the dust settles. My eyes see true and I feel light. This blur has become comforting. It reveals itself so often and so quickly, as if it is there, and not there, simultaneously.
Only an hour earlier my table was occupied by a young couple, starting their day with coffee and a shared croissant. He brings up possibly moving in together; he talks of the kitchen he dreams of, a manageable garden (and a widescreen to TV to play Fifa on, but that's not so romantic, so forget it). She pushes leftover crumbs around the plate and doesn't speak for a while, and when she does, her voice sounds a little different.
So badly did I want to tell them it sounds like a dream full of life. That they're perfectly suited and shouldn't worry, but I can't, because they'll know I was listening.
I can't help it. I'm inquisitive and a little nosey, but it holds the best of intentions. I long to see how the world works, understand different thought processes, hear stories, tell stories, be part of stories.
The teen sat on table six discussing essays and deadlines. She's talking to her Mum about how she's struggling. "I need more time. It's not going in - I can't revise on a beautiful day like this."
She talks in an easy way; collected with a ripple of panic edging to the surface. A year ago this would have been my story, there are so many parallels and I wish I could console her, but I can't, because she must figure this one out herself.
Not too long ago, a rainy Thursday afternoon brought a father and his young daughter in. Her uniform a little scruffy and her hair a little disheveled. And I can't be sure, but I think I spotted blue paint coiling her fringe.
She devoured her brownie and sat still long enough to see the angst in her father's eyes. A small leap to his lap sent a wave of invincible joy to his face.
I felt my heart burn and my hands tingle, it was not too dissimilar to afternoons I once shared with my own father.
Two coffees and a tea down, somewhere between a caffeine high and nicotine withdrawal I had a lapse in concentration and a look up from my tattered notebook allowed me to catch eye with the young daughter's father - who had left me feeling a little melancholy and pretty nostalgic - we shared a brief, but mutual smile.
And I suspect he was collecting my story, just like I collected his.