It all started with a dirty fork
In a cafe, which had taken an age to settle upon
A family run affair, with each member pleased to see you

His weekly breakfast taken, in the same window seat
A variety of characters shared in their own dining experience
Overheard conversations were as you’d imagine
He quickly felt a like a regular, a patron

And the prices were very reasonable too
A dirty fork is hard to clean with a paper napkin
The raising of his hand and an eyebrow
Failed to catch the attention of the young waitress

Eating his breakfast proved tricky, with only a knife
The next week, armed with his own pristinely clean cutlery
He noticed a stubborn smudge of ketchup
Stuck to the edge of his plate
As his meal was placed before him

The following week, his own plate, cup and saucer
Along with his own cutlery
The week after, condiments collected from his kitchen
And a tablecloth, from a kitchen drawer

I’d might as well bring my own chair next time
He’d thought
It was a fold-away and not too much trouble to carry
The table had legs that folded away neatly, too

The family members of the cafe showed tolerance
Suppressing frowns when he arrived
Complimenting him on his silver candlestick holders
And lighting the candles, with the matches he provided

When he brought his own food with him
They smiled kindly and cooked it without comment
And later, when he cooked his own food in his own pans
The hard-working sons, made space for him in their kitchen

On each visit, he changed the lampshade and bulb
That hung over his table
Unrolled a rug
And hung floral-patterned curtains, he’d had ‘made to order’

Only after an emotional outburst contesting the bill
For the first and last time
Did Sr Rodrigues ask him to leave, to take all his things
And to never come back again

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