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*Warning: this product contains tree and other varieties of nuts

Poetry & Prose | September 25, 2017

The thick slab of window muffles the outside sounds. In the back, the kitchen produces an orchestra of clanking equipment set to life by rushing commands, and in the front of the coffee house, sundry voices mix with deepening essences of toasting butter and brewing coffee beans that seep out from the kitchen. But these hues of nuttiness can only be purchased inside because outside was to be kept quiet.

Next to the two bags of walnuts that sag perfectly off-kilter on the counter are two jars of raw honey and a tall glass container. Through the glass, people can marvel at bite-sized milk chocolates, barely out of reach of a six-year-old on tiptoes and inches away from the more common fingertips of customers exchanging bills for their varieties of nuts.

On the green side of the window, a wagon carrying a little girl silently rolls along the sidewalk. She is still, her mouth slightly agape, and she tracks herself across the window until her gaze happens upon someone else’s inside. The customer drops her mug onto her lap and mimics the girl’s parted lips as her image comes to overlay itself onto her own. She is poised to say “hi,” but the word is sharply stuffed back down her throat when the heavy wedge of glass is shoved deep into her mouth upon noticing her own abrupt reflection. Then, the wagon is gone, and she looks back to the wrinkled surface of the coffee in her hands. The commotion renews behind her, but it isn’t unpleasant.

People meander through each other clumsily, but jovially, and with stupid grins to each passing dance partner, all of them clutching a nutty drink under their noses. Things are perfect even though they aren’t at all. And people’s delusional memories lead them faltering about the room, growing evermore lost in a perfect unreality.

The only entryway into the chaos is a door with the sign, “no pets, no children, no sanity,” before which every customer, having already fulfilled his life’s promise as best he could and thus being left with a deep hunger satiable by none other than nuts, must leave his frustrations tied to notions of a blemished world on the welcome mat. Once the door swings shut, silence belongs to the children outside because they’re not done changing the world. And purchases can only be made inside.