Looking back, I wish I had come here more often. This rustic, underground hub of a Starbucks that is tucked under the Maryland Inn off Main Street--so unassuming and calm. The walls echo with thoughts, ideas conjured up by the articulate and unpretentious. A true Annapolitan, gilded in the signature Polo outfit so many boater-town patrons wear, sits barefoot atop the worn leather couch to my left, reminding me I'm back on the Chesapeake. The hum of an acoustic guitar sings through the speaker, and fading snapshots of often forgotten celebrities line the charred brick walls. I almost want to kick myself for not coming more often while I had lived here permanently.
When I recall how I had spent my years in Annapolis, I often think of sitting dockside on humid July nights or acting out in moments of ignorance in some classmate's basement. There are occasional recollections of hours spent with my fingers plucking away at the keyboard, composing thoughts and creating habits. I also remember April evenings spent in bed, listening to thunderstorms as candle-glow flit about my shadow painted walls, drowning in some story that grew my ambition for writing and now elicits nostalgia of such a night.
It's easy to peer in on this past of mine and resolve that much of it was filled with wasted time. I hadn't involved myself with certain occupations that I now define myself by, and in analyzing time by that standard, much of it was spent idly. But I have to remember that I have grown into this person--with each step of my past, the future drew in closer, awakening new dimensions of who I am.
Perhaps I hadn't had time to visit this Starbucks. Perhaps it was yet to have such an influx of customers, which would have left me unknowing of its existence. Either way, I never visited. I never soaked in my precious time here or utilized one of the hidden gems I now frequent upon returning home.
These things combined is why I am so intrigued and drawn in by the charm of this little coffee cove. Knowing now where my life would lead, I want to go back to the young Rebekah and tell her who she would be, what she would enjoy. I would urge her to take certain chances, and let others pass her by. I would encourage her to speak more freely, but also to enjoy the silence more peacefully. But this would all be in vain, I very well know. Though I'm at a place in life where sitting quietly underground, listening to my mind and enjoying the silent presence of fellow coffee consumers brings me joy and contentment, there was a point in life where this would have merely been white noise. I can only fully enjoy all of this now because of every road I took to get here, though many were uncharacteristic of this place. The absence of such a satisfaction is what makes its sudden presence so beguiling. The former, "bleak" roads offer me insight into the fullness of the roads I now travel, filled with a new, complete richness. I was unknowingly relying on those former roads to bring me here, to a place of appreciation of simplicity and the scent of brass instruments sitting on pedestals that seem to thrill my soul.
It's actually quite reassuring to know that it wasn't coming into this cafe that made me who I am. It was staying out.