I made a quick trip to Barnes & Noble this evening after work to pick up a book. I was hoping it would be quick, but they’re repaving almost the entire parking lot, so it’s nearly impossible to get to. I eventually found a spot in the back and weaved my way through the maze of yellow tape and traffic barrels up to the front door. Guys in hardhats operating heavy equipment were working out on the fresh pavement. The acrid smell of asphalt was in the air.
All Barnes & Nobles are apparently identical all over the country. They all have the double doors that open to a foyer. I passed through the first set and was faced with the heavy wooden doors that open into the store. The smell of asphalt was replaced with the scent of coffee.
And I was transported. Back 20 years, half my lifetime. The same doors, the same aroma. Beyond those doors I would find laughter, conversation, friendship, and love. All I had to do was open the doors. I paused.
Not all Barnes & Nobles are identical.