Have you ever felt like you were a little out of place ? As if you weren't fully equipped for life's daily struggles ? Oh, nothing dramatic, but a slightly awkward feeling, sometimes difficult to pinpoint.
Something about not quite belonging anywhere.
There was a wooden door, about halfway down the paved sloping street on which you would always encounter slightly panting people. In the middle of the grey city, there was this bright green wooden door, innocently sitting there, under the number 15, just like any old entrance to yet another very normal building.
But if you happened to push that door open, and stride over the little step at the entrance, you wouldn't have entered just another very normal building, you would have actually stepped inside the Nearly Missed club.
Not many people did, and that's why you could always find an empty armchair in which to sit. But despite that apparent lack of attendance, there was always someone to be found in there.
Coats and hats always hung on the right side of the door when you entered, and you were always greeted by a strange mixed sent, like a fight between tea and coffee that would have gone slightly wrong.
In this place, you could meet all sorts of people, just like you could get any kind of cups. Big ones, tiny ones, flowery ones, old ones, fancy ones or just bowls. You didn't get to choose, and to be honest, nobody minded very much (or at least nobody was ever heard complaining about it).
Actually, that's a good description of what was going on at the Nearly Missed club. You came, you didn't get to choose your cup, but you never minded because it didn't matter very much.
There were people reading with their legs spread across the arm of their chair, there were people talking, or sometimes just mysteriously staring into each other's eyes without a word.
There were people absent-mindedly sipping their drink while looking out the foggy windows that not always showed the same view, depending on the day, and also on your luck.
They were all very different, sometimes extremely so, but they all had that little something in common that could not have been explained properly. So I won't try to.
This, you see, was a secret place. It had to be stumbled upon on one's confused quest to their dentist. Or to be discovered by chance, while fleeing from pouring rain, by people who invariably forgot to bring an umbrella.
The address had to be passed over, whispered in the ear of people you've only just met, but whose words feel excitingly right and promising.
All in all, we can say that it was a fairly friendly place, so long as you didn't mind a little bit of silence, the smell of slightly burnt toasts (nobody had ever succeeded at fixing that damn toaster) and weren't totally averse to the thought of magic.
There was only one rule that must be kept in mind at all time : No judging inside the Nearly Missed club. Never ever.
However bizarre or unusual things (or people) might seem at first, we know that strange is only defined by opposition to what we think is normal. And exactly how qualified are we at appraising what's normal and what's not ? Well, we especially aren't.
Oh and wait, there was actually another rule : no talking about what was going on in there to the outside world. Whichever one you happened to live in.