In high school, everyone always had that special place to hang out, whether in real life or in television shows. In Happy Days, it's at Arnold's. In Gilmore Girls, it's Luke's Diner. For my high school, it was Panera, a small cafe that was at the end of the strip mall. The outside was bleak, gray, with large windows that if you looked carefully, you can see everyone inside the place. The inside was painted a warm and welcome peanut shell. Pictures of bread adorned the place. As you walked in, the smell of bread was strong, making my mouth water. The rich aroma of coffee often followed, greeting you with a firm handshake. As you walked in closer, you can see a case of baked goods, scones that were sprinkled with crystal sugar that shined like diamonds, perfectly round cookies with large chocolate chips or M and Ms scattered throughout them like craters on the moon. When going to the counter, one had the power to order anything they wanted, from a salad, to soup, and sandwiches that can be served in breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Of course, you can order a drink of coffee, the one thing that you were always certain about, no matter how uncertain your life is.
The joint always buzzed with students around two. Athletes coming to get coffee and a snack. The band geeks getting a coffee before marching band. Others who just wanted to hang out with friends often occupied the tables as well, relaxing after what was a long and stressful day of higher education.
During my high school years, this was the place were my friends and I would always get together. I wasn't sure why, probably because it was only a few yards away from school and convient.
You see that table over there? The big one in the middle? Yes, that's where my group took it over one day after midterms. How about the little tables in the back? Yes, that's where I would meet up with good friends, often to catch up. It was a place of gathering, no matter what specefic party was involved.
As I go through my college life, I long to find a hang out as good as Panera, a place that was filled to the brim with memories. Panera, in a sense with the center stage of my high school life. Now, I long for a stage for my college memories to play out in.