Java Hut to be exact. That was the name of the cafe. Maybe “Hut” had two T’s to be fancy, it’s been so long now that I cannot remember. It was a little cafe on what we called The Strip in a long line of smoke shops, an old theater that had tables and chairs instead of rows of fold down seats and served actual food and pitchers of soda instead of just junk. The pizzas were my favorite.
The Java Hut’s sodas were the best. They could add nearly any type of flavor to your Cola and I became partial to the vanilla syrup. The boy I was dating at the time got me started on dumping salted peanuts into my Coke as well. It added a nice touch. I remember wondering who introduced him to this, just like I wonder how all of my partners learn little things that they come to love and if I ever got them hooked on anything.
This guy I was dating at the time, the one who enlightened me to this theater and the joys of salted peanuts in my Coke, he decided one day to invite two of his friends, Justin and Jenna, along with us on a double date. Man, those two were a wreck. From the time I met them their relationship was turbulent, but they were both awkward and perfect for each other in their own way until Jenna became pregnant and Justin bailed on her.
Right before I met him I had started hanging out with a girl I had known since middle school and a friend of hers who was a year older. We thought we were so fancy sitting in a local coffee shop restaurant, smoking our Marlboros and caffeinating ourselves well past our curfews. The friend of my friend, her name was Rita, and I found ourselves in some trouble not long after and not to my surprise, while I was doing community service I ran into this guy I had only recently started dating. It felt like such a terrible thing to me that I was required to service my community because of one dumb mistake. Honestly, when I found out Jenna and Justin were going to have a baby at the ages of sixteen and fifteen, i felt a lot better about my community service.
Dysfunction is what held our friendships and relationships together back then and I can’t say I was sad to hear a year ago that the Java Hutt had closed down some time ago. While the memories of the time spent there were pleasant enough, I know they were empty just as the relationships were, just as the building of the old Java Hutt probably still is.