By Sophia Kalogeris
A curious, chocolate brown bull dog began to incessantly chew on a water bottle he found beneath the table next to me as I attempt to begin my reading. Gordo, his name was, would routinely roam aimlessly throughout the café until his owner, the barista, would occasionally whistle in his direction and call him back behind the counter. Mischievous yet naïve, Gordo began to take a liking to the plastic bottle cap that was hanging out of the young woman’s backpack who sat beside me. The barista was preoccupied creating intricate and tasteful designs into the foam atop the many ordered Cappuccinos at the bar, so Gordo began to nibble and subsequently, I put down my reading and watched what was unfolding.
Like a child who has gotten away with playing in her mother’s makeup drawer, Gordo could not help himself but to gnaw and chew at the plastic cap. Girls sitting at a table across the room began to hear the muttering sounds of Gordo’s mouth as they turned their heads and cracked a smile at his slobbering grin. I was thoroughly entertained, and all the while the poor girl whose water bottle it was seemed to be ordering at the bar, missing all the action. Do I stop him? Do I try to shoo him away to save her water bottle, I wondered? My thoughts began to spin and get lost between the lyrics of Bruno Mars songs that blasted loudly through the café speakers. I let him chew.
The café was beginning to fill up now, with what seemed to be a mixture of locals and other students like myself. The loud simmering sound of the cappuccino maker drowned out the chatter of the Italians who were conversing at the bar. The faint yet distinct sound of one’s spoon hitting the inner walls of their porcelain cup as they stirred their coffee rang in my ears. Gordo’s metal collar occasionally jingled as his neck would roll violently around the rim of the plastic bottle cap. This café was never a quiet one, that I knew, but rather an enchanting and lively stage of performers where the scene was never the same day to day.
I loved coming here, not only for the picturesque designs in my cappuccinos, but for the experience it provided me. In all of the five minutes that I had been sitting down, I had forgotten my worries, my responsibilities, and suddenly I had also forgotten that I was still in fact over 4,000 miles from home, sitting in a small café in the middle of Italy. It’s amazing to me how such small and silly moments sometimes can completely pull you out of your element and place you in a totally different world. How refreshing and lovely it is to know that I can find the little joys of life in all corners of the world, even in this café.
When the young student returned to her chair, cappuccino in hand, she looked down at her crippled and drooled-over water bottle cap and gave out a bellied laugh. I smiled, and turned into my book to continue my reading.