Heavy metal softly played in the background. It’s the same vibe as Blackbird Pizzeria, another Philadelphian, vegan, heavy metal restaurant without, of course, the pizza. I couldn’t possibly imagine myself spending significant amounts of time here; it seemed like an interesting tourist destination, but throughout my short stay, I felt a constant disconnect between the culture of the store and myself.

For one, I am not vegan. I also do not listen to metal. At least, regularly. Although I can appreciate the unique qualities of the coffee shop, to me, I feel as if I should have some sort of longing for the intricate attributes before I integrate the time I spend in my shop into my personality. But here, I cannot help but feel as if I don’t belong. Because, no matter earthy the coffee tastes or how hospitable the staff is, my yearning for some sort of solace never comes to me.

It’s a sensation I have become quite accustomed to — existing, but never quite enough. It’s the part of me I wish I could change, an irritation found deep within my being that can never be resolved, a gentle but relentless hum in an otherwise soft pattering of raindrops against my window. It’s metal and foreign, yet somehow, so real. But I continue sipping on my coffee, letting the bitterness settle in.

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