There is a restaurant around the corner from where I work called the “Little Cherry Tree”. It is a very sad place to be.
The smell of dispair and old grease lingers in the air. The décor consists of a collection of trophies from local sports clubs and pictures of hunters and athletes. Artificial brown wreaths, tucked into small pots of artificial soil, form center pieces on the tables, with pale green tablecloths and alongside rustic chairs. It’s very difficult to draw the line between traditional and tacky, although this place definitely qualifies for the latter.
The customers… a middle-aged woman sitting alone in the corner, with greasy hair, saggy cheeks and sulking shoulders. She doesn’t seem to be enjoying her meal, but maybe it’s not just the stale food that’s ruining her day. In the middle of the room, there’s an elderly couple. The man poking at his vegetables with an earnest expression on his face, in an attempt to escape the awkward silence. The woman gazing at him while drifting away into her own fantasies.
The food reminds me of the cantine at my university, back when I was a student. The lumpy pulp of mashed potatoes. The slimy peas and carrots from a can and the oily sausage.
This anti-gourmet lunch is prepared by a grey-haired man wearing blue and white checkered pyjama pants and white chef’s shirt. He often sneaks out for a cigarette outside after rush-hour. His wife, the waitress, is seemingly the only ray of sunshine during this dining experience. A good-looking woman in her early forties, with a warm smile and a motherly manner, just short of holding you against her bosom.
My order is served. A shoe sole Schnitzel tainted with a slimy brown sauce and juicy French Fries that make up for the flaws of the accompanying meat.
It’s a morbid pleasure to dine at the Little Cherry Tree. I wonder if the other guests are also here for the kick.