Cafe Apostrophe is a tiny, hole in the wall, nook of a cafe which is located in the old neighborhood of Montreal, which travels along The Main and intersects which such streets as Bernard and St. Viateur. This coffee shop whose windows bear witness to the daily commutes of Hipsters and Hasids, plays host to a regular array of guests, who come for the fresh coffee, but stay for the ambience, the company, the mellow background music and the cozy couches where one could sip their coffees or take a nap if they are so inclined.
The place is a small room with various couches hugging the walls, small tables placed in front of them. There are a number of tables and chairs as well, but those are always invariably unfilled. It is the soft, brown couches which attract the patrons and which a number of them could always be seen on the verge of dozing off, coffee mug still in hand and feet stretched straight out in front. A waitress comes around every so often to clean up, offer a warm smile or ask if she can take an empty mug, perhaps for a refill. Sometimes there is a promotion for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Canada Day or St. Jean Baptiste. On those days, one can always hope for a free coffee or doughnut. The doughnuts and danishes are ravishing, according to word on the street and most people’s noses. The freshly baked batches first thing in the morning are renowned for having a line sometimes leading out into the street. People wait patiently, sometimes looking at their watches, knowing they won’t be that upset back at work with the bag of doughnuts coming back, freshly baked and melting in the mouth. The buttered croissants are their specialty also and they make special mini ones to hand out, free of charge, compliments of the house, to the waiting early morning commuters.
It is only after the early morning rush when the long line clears up, that the cafe is left quiet and tranquil and a relaxing den for the usuals. These usuals tend to be conservative, traditional in their breakfast choices. It is the same every day, give or take one doughnut here, one croissant there. That one man who shuffles in daily with his newspaper, rubbing his hands as he enters from the outside, looking at how busy it is, and who waits patiently in line for his usual. He gives a friendly smile, greets the server who he knows by name and says, “The usual.” They all know what that is and so they give it to him with a little extra of sugar, cream or whatever goes, write his name and a smiley and say, “Enjoy your breakfast sir.” He picks up the hot beverage and pastry and heads on over to his favorite spot, right by a fireplace which is roaring and crackling in the winter. With a sigh, he heaves himself down on the couch, puts down his food, opens his paper, reclines back and starts reading the news. That is his morning routine and hasn’t changed much over time.
His face, hidden behind the paper, is partially visible with ever turn of the page. He licks each page before turning it as that’s his way. Every so often he’ll look up to see the other diners. Sometimes he’ll nod at someone, but more often than not he’ll just take a sip, a bite and go back to his paper, chewing contently.