Yesterday, I did my usual commute. I drove the five minutes, parked in front of Cameron church, then crossed first Iowa, then Pearl, to walk the third of a block into the shop. As I did, I passed the usual row of shops and restaurants.
There’s this little place that’s four doors down from the corner, called the Crushery. I get coffee from there a couple of mornings a week, and food from there at least every Thursday night (they’re not open late on the other days I work). Their concept is that everything is put in a Panini maker and “crushed,” so they make this salad that they put their own warm croutons on, and it’s like having a salad with a grilled cheese on top. It might be my favorite food on the planet. I’ve become such a regular that when I walk in the door in the morning they just start making my coffee, and when I come in for dinner if I forget to order my salad properly then whoever’s making it asks, “Hey, Noel, you don’t like onions, do you?” It’s like my “Luke’s” from Gilmore Girls. When Sawan died, they sent me an oak tree, signed from all of my friends at the Crushery, with all of their names. That's why we planted one in the backyard of my parent's house. When I went to London the last time, I bought presents for my family, a couple of girlfriends, and magnets with beer-bottle openers for the boys that work at the Crushery.
As I walked by yesterday, I saw a weirdo flyer in their window. I got a sick feeling in my gut, like something was bad wrong. The stools were still stacked on the tables, and they should be open already. I walked up to look at the flyer, and it said that they had CLOSED their business.
I’m unbelievably sad. These guys were my friends. I’m sad that their business didn’t work out. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see them again. I’m sad that it won’t be a part of my life anymore. I’m sad that I’ll never eat a number 10 (Tuna salad) with no onions ever again. I felt so strange, too, because my first thought was that I needed to call Sawan and tell him, we had eaten there so many times together.
And, honestly, I’m a little worried about who’s going to feed me now.