My heart beat rapidly as I waited to cross the street. I scanned the front of the coffee shop. Was he here yet? I’d been to this coffee shop once before, when my coworkers had taken me on the gold line for a trip to downtown Los Angeles. We took a detour and got off at the Mission stop to sample the famous Fosselman’s ice cream at the very coffee shop I stood across the street from now. That day I had felt carefree as I walked towards the shop. But on this day, I felt a slightly toned down version of terrified. But there was no turning back now—at this point he had probably already spotted me: brown boots and a heavier coat than usual for this Southern California, April evening.
I walked across the street trying to look confident, calm, and attractive? I wasn’t sure what vibe I should aspire to. I opened the door and immediately spotted him. We greeted each other, making small talk as we waited in line for our drinks. No ice cream this time. I ordered first, determined to pay, until I realized that this place did not take credit cards for small purchases. He swooped in, “I got this.” Embarrassed I thanked him, remembering his attention to detail and thinking that he probably had made sure he had cash with him, just in case. Brandon was that kind of guy.
The whopping two readers of this blog will be happy to know that this encounter ended happily. A year and a half after this meeting, Brandon and I got married. In fact we took some of our engagement photos at Buster’s.
So one might say that Buster’s had a hand in the second, yes second start—more on that later—of our relationship.
After this we frequented Buster’s on the weekends, ordering two coffees, granola with fruit, and a cinnamon roll on most occasions. Before Jack, we would leisurely read and eat, sitting outside on their patio, reading our books, the paper, or flipping through Sunset magazine. But after Jack, we came too. It was one of the first places we brought Jack when he was only a few weeks old. The breakfast wasn’t nearly as leisurely, but the location was perfect—very close to our house and the passing train that was instant entertainment. Plus Jack’s antics always caught the eye of someone.
And then we learned that Buster’s would be closing after 30 years. 30 years! This coffee shop, in a small town, has been open for 30 years. The sisters, who owned and ran the place, sold it because they were ready to move on. As someone who recently entered her 30s, I can’t help but think about how this place has been around for almost my whole life. What was it like in the 80s and 90s? How has it changed? I only experienced the tail end of its legacy. The sisters were probably around my age when they started it. Time is a strange and funny thing: constant and ever-changing.
Thank you for the memories Buster’s. We will miss you.