A couple Sundays ago Brent and I decided to go to Panera. I realized when we got there that I actually don’t love Panera. especially when I discovered that you can only log into wifi for 30 minute increments every two hours. But there’s something about that little “cafe” that floods me with memories.

I am a sentimental, nostalgic person. I love the way certain places, people, scents and sights resonate with me and evoke emotion. Panera evokes feelings similar to that of riding the craziest roller coaster you can imagine 27 times in a row backwards.

Let me take you for a little ride.

August 2008- Two good friends meet for dinner at Panera, followed by a trip to the park where they sit on a bench and discuss thier “significant others” all evening. One of the friends was wearing a tanktop embellished with Hollister seagulls, and oddly large (for a not-so-ghetto girl) hoop earrings. I forget what the other friend was wearing. Probably a polo.

December 2008- Katie sneaks away from her little sister’s birthday dinner (sorry Carolyn) to meet her “friend” Brent at the local Panera. They sit in a booth near the back and confess their undying love for each other. Well, not really…but I do remember saying something like “I don’t think this will end,” in reference to our relationship. Apparently I was feeling rather bold that night, in my frizzy french braid and American Eagle sweatshirt.

October 2009- Following a class missions trip to Latvia, the two friends-then lovers-then friends decide to become lovers again. At Panera. My memory fails me as to what my outfit may have been.

We interrupt this story to bring you a very long pause. 2.5 year to be exact, when Panera was still in existence but this relationship was not.

September 2012- Following a rather bold move on Brents part, our relationship was yet again rekindled with a date to Panera, followed by the park. I painstakingly chose a very plain very blue shirt that has since been given to a sister, or to Goodwill, or sold at a closet sale. One of those.

As I sat at a booth with my husband last Sunday, sipping on my cafe latte, I found my heart engaging in our story all over again. It has spanned over so many different seasons that I don’t always remember all the details that played into where we’re at today.

But when I go to Panera, it’s hard to forget.