Like any good millennial who appreciates the occasional surefire ‘gram, I enjoy some good winter sunlight. But my fondness for the low-hanging sun—harsh and unforgiving and gone too soon—began before I began posting photos for the Likes.
Though only just—I think it was the winter of grade 12, the year I was working at Esquires, the coffee shop tucked behind the 7-Eleven, its parking lot accessible only by slightly treacherous turns noticed too late. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never think to stop by, especially when there were not one but two Starbucks in the open and easily manoeuvrable Safeway complex across the street. This meant that Esquires traffic was slow, only really frequented by regulars who typically spent their weekend morning settling in with their almond lattes or single shot espresso, or friends who knew you had a shift.
On Sundays, from seven in the morning until early afternoon I would tamp espresso, refill whipped cream canisters, slurp the leftovers when I’d accidentally overfilled frappuccinos, keeping an eye on the sun as it never rose past a certain point in the sky, blanching the walls. Behind the counter, the air stuffy and the smells of coffee beans ever present—though fading from my notice a few hours in—I was usually finishing (or beginning) homework in the corner.
I would watch the sun as the day went on through the southeasterly windows. In the morning, I would unlock the café in the dark, and close up shop in time to make it home in the last glow of the afternoon. It felt like the day had never quite begun, and yet somehow it was already over.