Arriving early for my Shakespeare lecture on 26 Bedford Way, I entered a nearby Cafe Nero on the corner of Woburn Place and bought an medium Americano and pain au raisin. The coffee shop had been unpleasantly full, and after failing to find a place to sit, I left the shop and settled on a bench next to a trash can in Russell Square, which was conveniently nearby.
During the summer, I enjoy sitting in the shade of trees. But today, it was still winter. The color of the air shifted from a blue when the clouds settled in to a warm yellow when the sun returned. When the clouds settled in to cover the sun immediately ahead of my field of vision, the familiar blue of the Cafe Nero coffee sleeve and paper bag complimented the colors of the air. When the clouds eventually passed by, the inner warmth of my coffee completed the comfort afforded by the titillating sunlight on my skin.
The butter found in the creases of my pain au raisin liquified upon contact with my tongue, leaving only its orgasmic juices behind. I rinsed down its languid taste with a wash of my coffee, letting the warm acidity cover ever surface of my mouth before taking another bite. For the first time in awhile, I had taken milk in my coffee. For the first time in awhile, I enjoyed milk in my coffee. The same thinness that had previously defined my state of existence to me no longer appealed to me. There, in the fullness of my pain au raisin and my coffee, I felt the wind against my skin.
The lid of the ‘rubbish bin’ adjacent to my bench had fallen off its intended location and hung tentatively by a metal wire connecting it to the body. The lid clinked predictably with the wind; by itself, the lid cannot move. Sometimes, the exposed material inside the trash can would be displaced by the wind. Sometimes, a few pieces of trash would liberate themselves from the confines of the trash can. A couple of packs of cigarettes, my used Cafe Nero bag, dripping cups of coffee, empty water bottles, dirty napkins, a carton of juice stabbed by a straw.
A variety of adults and children passed by me, each with their thoughts occupied by other ideas than those I have. A old man sitting on the bench across from mine on his phone. A mother feeding oatmeal to her child on another bench. Two men in their twenties feasting on their Tesco meal deals. A fat pigeon purring in front of me, flexing. An Asian couple also brought a DSLR camera to do a photo shoot, but for the first time in awhile, I observed them without judgement. They are a part of the world, just as a I am a part of the world, and who am I to place hierarchies on values?
It is in these moments that I appreciate to be alive. Lately, it has been hard to find those moments. But, at least, for now, I can say that I am comfortable with experiencing the continuance with existence. To be overwhelmed with beauty. To be alive.