2010 is coming to a close and my insides clench at the thought that another year is passing and I'm still no further towards my dreams, though am confused now just what those dreams are. The bookshop cafe undergoes another mental refit as I size up local shops for possibilities. I imagine myself cycling to work early in the morning. It's aways sunny in my daydreams, bright with promise. My bicycle's carry basket is filled with sweet smelling tomatoes, just-baked olive breads, sweet pastries and the mandatory baguette that I have purchased from local stores on the way. I laugh a lot in those daydreams, and flick my hair flirtatiously at butchers, bakers and, yes, the candlestick maker if there's one around. They smile appreciatively as they stand in the doorways of their impeccably clean shops, the subtle lighting from inside pouring onto the pavement through their french windows. My own bookshop cafe waits expectantly for me like an old friend and I can feel its hum of pleasure as I turn the large, old-fashioned key and step in. I turn on the lamps, strategically positioned in front of baroque-styled mirrors and light the fire in the reading room at the rear of the shop. I scoop a ladle of coffee beans from a large hessian bag and bend to savour their aroma before I grind and ready the coffee machine for the day. A quick dust of the books; fresh flowers and candles at each table. I run a cloth impregnated with olive oil, a hint of sandalwood and rosemary across the surface of the mahogany counter, and place the pastries, still warm from the bakery, into tiered racks. Tiny fairy lights climb the tiers like jasmine and their light reflects in the glaze of apricot and berry Danish. (Why, might you say, do I not have an Australian theme? A red gum counter, wattle seed damper and lillypilly jam? Because my appreciation of what it is to be Australian is still not fully developed. I'm still caught in juvenile Europeanism. I know it. I accept it. Growing up will probably take place in a Winnebago trekking across the Nullabor). 

Back to my shop... My day will be busy enough to pay the rent, provide me with a surprisingly generous income, but there will be time enough too, for writing another page of my new, highly anticipated novel, while customers lounge in the reading room, sipping tea and extolling my talents as they absorb themselves in the lives of Rupert, Neti and Athena, and then, Dana and Madeleine.  

There's a clanging in my ears. It's jarring, not at all like the sound of the little chime that ushers in another eager customer. I sense a stampede approaching and shake myself out of my reverie. There's a problem with my daydream. I can't ride a bike. I pick up the text books and teacher's chronicle and ready myself for Year 8 Science, last period Friday afternoon. 

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AuthorAmanda Apthorpe