Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Last weekend I walked into my Border’s store. I’d barely made it through the door when I heard someone call my name. One of the employees who became a friend during the past year rushed over and gave me a hug.

A hug goodbye.

I made a number of friends there. With the employees and the regulars. Made a lot of good memories, too, It’s where I used to meet with my “study buddy” from Korea, where we’d have coffee and she’d practice speaking English. It’s where I’d take my kids to buy books and have lunch. It’s where I’d chat with the other regulars who gathered there to work or relax. And it’s where I wrote my latest novel. Three days a week, I’d sit in that store and write and write and write.

So, my confession is this: I’m sad that my hang-out is closing. I’m sad that I won’t likely see those friends again. I’m sad that it will cease to be the gathering place it was, not just for me but also for the guys who played chess and the Italian conversation club and the Tibetan monks and the sweet older couple…even for that annoying guy who’d race me for the best table.

But I’m also grateful. For the friendship and the support and the laughter and the coffee and the books and the inspiration and the chairs and the smiles and the encouragement.

This month, I finished the novel. And I owe that Borders and its community a huge thanks.

Thank you.