Today I had an itchy feeling after work that I needed to get some coffee. It was imperative. I headed toward Starbucks so that I could use my card and accumulate stars toward free drinks, but something felt so immediately wrong that my arms turned the steering wheel to the left without consulting my brain and for the first time since summer I was headed to The Greenest Bean.
This particular coffee stand and I are emotionally connected–it was here that I spent countless lunch and afternoon and before-recital breaks ordering the most delicious caramel Americanos while hashing out life during heavy or frivolous conversations with Y. The Greenest Bean was staffed by lovely workers who knew our names and how to craft the perfect iced beverage, and their punch cards and packaging made my marketing heart sing.
I don’t know how, but Y almost always ended up with the pink straw and I the green. It was like a little bit of magic. The Greenest Bean helped me through some hard days and a lot of wonderful ones. The Greenest Bean changed me from a bashful coffee newbie into a coffee snob.
As graduation came near, my favorite baristas moved on and their replacements, while I am sure quite nice, didn’t know my name or the proportions of my drink. I changed too. The caramel in my drink became too much and I eventually changed to drinking an iced americano with a dash of cream and no flavoring. I became obsessed with reaching gold star status on my Starbucks card, and even though I was still at Saint Martin’s every day it was no longer as a student. Slowly, but surely, I stopped going. We had both changed.
So today it was a surprise to me when I found myself once more pulling into the familiar drive-thru lane of The Greenest Bean. I dug in my wallet and found the gorgeous punch card, only one punch in it, at the very back of all of my coffee cards. I ordered my more mature Americano from a lovely Barista I did not know, and while sitting I noticed a letter taped to the window stating that after Friday, October 14, The Greenest Bean would be closed for good.
At first I did not believe it, surely the posting was a joke. Then, I remembered that funny feeling I had had which had led me to the stand, and I remembered the date. I put the punch card away, unused.
As I savor the very last americano I will ever purchase from The Greenest Bean, I find it very fitting that my straw is jet black.