John glanced sideways at the sound of the door opening. At least he thought his name was John. He was a bit hazy on that still. But, oddly, he remembered Jane's name with certainty.
The tiny ring sounded, and he involuntarily turned, although he should have been used to it by now. Used to the fact that no one new ever entered. Perhaps he was hoping for her. That was perhaps the only thrill left, the one variety he had to hope for. And that was assuming that all the Menshines were not entirely the same. But clearly they weren't. These ones here, mostly the same. Some other ones were gathering elsewhere. Some were doing more of this, less of that. Just like people.
He looked through the window again. The sun was hitting the right spot, when his corner would light up and warm up his face, radiating heat from a large window that was looking out to the street. The heat would calm him, get him more rooted, he'd feel in a less rush to leave. He'd just stare straight ahead, sipping his coffee, comfortable in silence, in solitude. At moments like these, he was really enjoying his coffee, among others, taking a short repose from a busy day. He felt as if it mattered, whether or not he'd order this or that, read the newspaper, put lots of sugar in his cup, or cut it for calories. Like he was really there. He'd be peaceful in those moments, he was not bothered one bit by the fact that he was an odd creature there, barely worth noticing, and certainly inconsequential. Like a cat in the shop window. He smiled when he first thought of it. But it was exactly like that.
Him basking in the sun, mute, able to speak his own language, but of no avail really, since nobody else spoke it. Especially when he mastered a few tricks so to be understood, to get his cup of coffee, a pastry perhaps. And then, he'd go on with his own existence, seen by others but not really noticed. Tolerated. More by some, less by others. Part of the decor, and curious at that.
True, they noticed him at first. Some even tried to handle him, lift him, analyze him. But they'd lose interest soon, all of them. And how hard he tried. There was time when he knew that communicating with them was the matter of life and death. It was the key to everything, the only way to go on, to remain sane. But slowly, as it always is, he grew to accept something he couldn't change, something that was so entirely out of his control. He was so easily fooled by their human like looks, and he was eager to find more of it than there really was. The faces were there, just like before. That's how he noticed her. She was so beautiful. He couldn't help but think how utterly stunning she had to be before, or her ancestors at least. You could fall in love with that face, he thought. Especially as at that point he fully got used to how they looked. The metallic back of their scull, the shiny metallic limbs, still couldn't cancel out her beauty. And he searched in her, and others, that spark of recognition, of sameness. It seemed they were partly human still. This obviously retro coffee shop where some of them came was a proof that they knew of the human past and still had their preferences within it. Maybe this was for the nostalgic. Surely he would not survive this long had he not stumbled upon this café, that much he was sure of. Not just for a secure food and drink source that it provided him, but for at least something from his past life to hang on to.
He witnessed a lot of human like activities they still did, but he knew by now for sure that they did not have the need to eat or drink. These ones in the café did it in the same way some of his generation had still listened to records once most people turned to getting their music digitally. And the fact that these were obviously some sort of purists probably saved him, because they were producing real food daily, for not real reason at all. They ate it too, but he figured out a long time ago that for them it was an empty sensation, not a vital function.
So after the first spark of interest, they let him be. They got used to him. Nesting there, soaking the sun from the window. Perhaps they considered him part of the whole old times cafe illusion, just like the stack of fake newspapers at the corner of the counter. They all communicated clearly with each other, but he was left outside of it, without pity, as people didn't pity a cat that meowed because it was lonely, and instead got fed.