My head hangs low as I approach the store-front of a local staple. A slimy sidewalk divides the entrance from the parking lot and I glance skyward. A droopy hand written sign hangs overhead which reads- Going out of business. I peer through the dusty window and realize that, like the VHS tapes that once lined the tall shelves, the sign is also outdated. By the look of the inside, “going” was a few hours ago. The walls are empty and a thick cloud of smoke gathers high against the flaky ceiling. The carpet, which was once a deep red, is scattered with debris and the walls moan like a dilapidated jalopy. Red Carpet Video on Tamarack was once a destination for giggling children and cuddling lovers, but is now just a bunch of memories rolled up in one dirty ‘ole red carpet.
I tap the glass window with my keys and smirk a smile to the former owner. She wipes the sweat from her brow and flings her long brown hair out of her face. I give a wave and she motions to let me in. We exchange laughter though the mood is far from that reaction. As I enter, I reflect on the many evenings in which I wandered the aisles in search of the night’s entertainment. I chuckle at the pranks we played and the stories we told. I remember the customers we watched and the nicknames we gave them. The commotion of crashing wood awakes me from my mental doodles as splinters fling in my direction. A shelf becomes victim of a sledge hammer like the video store was one to the convenience of home delivered DVDs.
I watch two former employees tackle the remaining furniture and shelves. A mess is created when I thought the goal was to clean it, but I can see the frustration in a business deal gone sour with each swing. Like a sneeze in an office, the emotion of the situation is contagious. With a hammer in my hand, I find myslef tossing weight through the air like a wild tomahawk. Cheers erupt with each hole as passers stop and watch.
The night carried on in this fashion until the the moon began to yawn and the stars became sleepy. With nothing more than wood scraps littered along the baseboards, we sat and reflected on the years we spent together, the people we met and the relationships we formed. Though the walls are bare and the shelves are empty, our minds are cluttered with memories that will always bring smiles and laughter.
Out of all the businesses that have come and gone, which ones do you remember? What keeps that memory alive?