It had all started at Starbucks, so it seemed only appropriate for it to end there too. OK, so technically we'd met in a bar, but our first date happened at Starbucks. There we were, unashamedly making out on the couch, oblivious to the other patrons and the cold outside, feeling like anything was possible.
Fast forward seven months and there he went, walking out past the sleek faux maple furniture, leaving me with the books and house keys he'd been holding onto far too long past the duration of our relationship. As I watched him push the door open, likely never to cross my path again, I could only think what a perfect post-modern end to it all.
There I sat alone, sipping the dregs of my iced tea and listening to some random world music, and all that occurred to me was that this Starbucks (like all Starbucks) has probably seen its share of perfect post-modern beginnings and endings over the years. I wondered how many other awkward exchanges, how many anxious first glances, how many final nails in the coffin had been hammered in over caramel macchiatos or the latest tune from Feist. Surely mine could not be the only relationship to be book-ended by sips from paper cups festooned with topless mermaids.
When we move or think about where we went to college, we build so many memories into that place. We remember where our little brother chipped his tooth or where we met our best friend and even where we were when we found out someone famous died. But what about those really anonymous places - like Starbucks - that play host to so many points in time both momentous and mundane to so many people? Do they hold on those memories the way that our houses do? Or do they release them quickly like a subway car, almost spontaneously vacant and ready to be refilled with someone else's life?
Luckily for me, only the Starbucks where our relationship began falls into a regular travel pattern of mine. I guess that makes me an optimist. Luckily for all of us, there's always another Starbucks right around the corner (yes, even despite the recently announced closures) for us to fill with new memories, new encounters, new experiences and even new relationships.