I turn the corner of Glenwood and step onto Airport Boulevard, greeted by signs for “Slayer Espresso” and petite outdoor dining sets. One set remains available; the other is occupied. Joe sits smoking his cigarette and Meg places a pinch of pastry in her mouth while empty cups and saucers remain - evidence of savored sips.
They nod “hello,” which I return with a smile as I open the door.
This is Chaleur Method Brew + Espresso: a haven for those seeking to slow down and escape the barren- ness of our busy lives, the very busy-ness Socrates warned against.Courtney, one of the owners, is floating around the shop, greeting regulars and meeting newcomers but pauses a moment to wave hello - her eyes lighting up every time someone walks through the door.
Behind the counter is Dustin.
Seth was here this morning.
Yesterday, it was Russell.
Haley was here a day or so ago.
Familiar faces and new faces: mingling together around tables, leaning forward to share a quiet word, breathing lightly.
The faint hum of Edith Piaf collides with the smell of coffee in a matrimony of the senses.
I carefully read the menu, giving myself time to discern today’s desire from pour over, Chemex, aeropress - after all, this is the city’s only third-wave shop, and one must choose well.
My eyes are drawn to today’s selections from Bel- leville and Madcap and Seeds, then I look up to admire today’s pastries.
Ordering a pour over of Belleville’s Brazilian Santa Inês and a croissant, I settle myself by the window so to better observe everyone else.
For a moment, I forget I am in Mobile, Alabama. For a moment, I was wandering Paris again - slipping in and out of cafes at my leisure.
Chaleur means “warmth” - and here, we have the space to feel and explore this feeling once more, if only for an hour or two. Here, we join together as friends and lovers-of-life to slow down for a moment and remember to pursue the fullness of what is good, what is lovely, and what is true.