By Michael Tufaro
Grade 9, Lord Byng High School, 2002
“The sky is a shade of deep misery. Everyone but you, it seems, is warm and dry. How easy it would be to turn around and go back into the musty school from which you came. You press on, determined to break up your monotonous, painfully boring day with a bit of non-regulated life. A cultural interlude of sorts. As you round the next corner a warm glow catches your eye. A café? Walking more briskly than before, you arrive at the source in no time flat. Pull open the door, and step into the warmth that is The Well.
The Well is a welcome addition to lower Dunbar, an area sadly lacking in java-based culture. With its fresh brewed coffee, original pastries, award winning hot chocolate, and the Italian style panini sandwiches coupled with smoothies, it surely delivers on the food front. As good as this food is, it is the atmosphere that assures it a place in my heart. The first think you see as you walk through the doors is the smiling staff. Look to your left and you’ll see an artistic fountain, large windows, high backed chairs in “funky” colours, and several traditional four place tables. To your right are the condiments, up to date periodicals and fresh, crisp newspapers. Quite a change from the lumber yard, vacuum store, and the Quik-E-Mart equivalents that otherwise clutter up lower Dunbar St.
You get a certain feeling when you sit down with a tall black coffee, a Financial Post and a freshly baked brownie. You feel the soft back of the chair supporting you, the wind and rain driving outside, cars passing by, too slowly it seems. It is similar to the feeling you get if you try on an expensive suit, Armani maybe, charcoal gray. It is a feeling of having made it, even though you are far from it. It is the feeling of reading the market reports and wanting them to mean something. The thought of having a job where if you were watching CNN and something happens, you got a call five minutes ago telling you all about it. The Well delivers that feeling and maybe others, although I have yet to experience them. I guess that is one of the reasons I go back day after day, hoping that one day, on cue with my desires changing, the feeling will change. It will become my having made it, looking back on today and dreaming about what it was like in grade nine, when life was simpler, and I would have given anything for it not to have been so.
All the remains of your brownie are crumbs, and the water has almost dried up from your jacket. The last sip never is as good as the first, is it? Lunch is drawing to a close, and you are expected back for class very soon. You’re going to miss the good food and fresh, comforting coffee, but don’t leave with a heavy heart, for you know as well as I do that we’ll both be back again tomorrow, same time. You can count on it.”