THE LOST WALGREENS

No Walgreens were harmed, visited, or otherwise involved in the making of this story, except tangentially. @BWN_7 @jannychan
  1. It is mid-June 1993
    I've just graduated high school. Jurassic Park is awing moviegoers and everyone is talking about DNA. Deep in my uterus, I'm cultivating my own unique culture of DNA. When he is born 7 1/2 months later, we are convinced briefly that his DNA is alien, judging by his condition at birth. But that story is not this story.
  2. I'm going to Europe and it's a terrible idea.
    I'm pregnant and sick and miserable. No one but my boyfriend knows and he is being clingy and awful and doesn't want me to go. I'm seriously considering an abortion because I have a full ride scholarship to college and for countless other reasons.
  3. We are on a "student tour" but it's really just my friend's mom (she is a former teacher but doesn't have to work anymore) and dad and a group of her girlfriends.
    Because private school girls know how to work the system. It's what we do.
  4. These girls are getting on my nerves the whole trip.
    It's not their fault. Well, they are dumb to skip seeing Versailles to maximize legal drinking opportunities, but other than that it's all me. I'm quickly realizing our lives are moving in two very different directions.
  5. We are in Germany and it's the nearing the end of the trip. My friends are obsessed with getting some discount Birkenstock sandals.
    They all have money and, incidentally, several pairs of Birkenstocks already, so this is just a really weird game I don't understand.
  6. I tell them that I'm going to try to find the Heidelberg Zoo instead and I'll meet up with them tonight before we head to Munich.
  7. I set out from the hotel with no map and no knowledge of the German language.
    Also, because it is 1993, no cell phone, no gps, no Google maps, etc. It was a different time, folks.
  8. I spend HOURS wandering the streets of Heidelberg.
    I never find the zoo. I don't talk to anyone. It's just me and my thoughts and a little bit of a pity party. I'm not usually an ungrateful young woman or a sad one. What I almost always am is someone who tanks her biggest opportunities.
  9. So I'm in the city, sick, my feet hurt, I'm sad and angry and lonely and nothing is familiar and I'm SO, SO THIRSTY.
  10. And I turn the corner and out of nowhere there is a huge Woolworth's.
    No, not a Walgreens, a Woolworth's.
  11. And it takes a minute to sink in, but then a small smile starts to grow on my face. And it gets bigger, and bigger.
  12. And I sit down on the sidewalk and take a picture of it.
  13. And then I go inside.
  14. Sometimes it just takes one thing.
    My dad's mom loved Woolworth's and always bought one thing there. Delicious Faygo Frosh soda. I never went to her house the entire time she was alive when there weren't at least two cases of Frosh in the basement.
  15. And it could have made me think how my situation was letting everyone down and how disappointed they'd be in me.
    But instead it just made me so happy to feel so close to home when I was so far away. And I thought to myself that I would never, ever forget that no matter how bad things were, that when I least expected it, things would start looking up.
  16. And I never did forget.
    Sometimes I come across as cold or cynical(and occasionally downright bitter) Sometimes I lose faith in people. But I try never to forget for too long, that down where it counts, I'm an optimist at heart. I apologize to all of you who've read this far for the sappy moral to this story but it is what it is.
  17. What I did forget
    when I told the story of the Woolworth's to my grandma the next time I saw her, was that it wasn't a Walgreens. And I wondered why she wasn't more excited.
  18. But then I got my film developed.
    Yes, developed.
  19. And I realized my mistake.
    Just that one. There will be many mistakes to come.
  20. And I took the pictures to her house.
  21. And we shared a Frosh.
  22. And she made a joke about getting lost and losing an entire Walgreens.
  23. And she laughed so hard. 💚💚💚
  24. The End
  25. Update: I love it when an old list of mine pops up as related, even when I'm not sure why it's related other than I needed to read it again.