Dear Deli, I Can’t Believe You Closed Without a “Goodbye.”

Dear Deli,

Sorry that I’m writing you this awkward letter like I’m a fifteen-year-old girl with extra emotions but you left me no choice. Actually, you left me with nothing at all.

I’m not going to be cliché and say that what we had was special. What we had was pretty typical in regards to a transactional relationship, but it was comfortable. It was long term. We saw each other practically every day for as long as I can remember because I am loyal; not once did I so much as flirt with the Starbucks across the street or the Pain Quotidien around the corner.

I know we had our fights, and to be quite frank it was usually your fault. You’d run out of those almond bars I like so I’d have to choose an alternate brand. You’d inflate the price of fruit, take about fifteen hours to toast a bagel, forget the cheese on my egg sandwich and about 9 times out of 10 you’d fail to include a spoon when I bought yogurt, which I wouldn’t realize until I was too far away and then I’d have to improvise.

You never remembered the way I take my iced coffee despite ordering the same exact thing every single day as if I were Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and you often glared at me if I loitered too long by the chip selection. I wasn’t going to steal them, you know. You never trusted me.

But none of the bad stuff mattered to me, because you were always my deli. It’s just…I thought I was your girl.

You left me without so much as a “goodbye,” like Matt Saracen left Julie Taylor. Did you also go to Chicago to find yourself and begin life as an artist? Don’t they have enough delis there? What about me and my needs?

I have no one now. Sure, there’s the deli across the street, but it smells weird and I hate the salad bar and their tuna looks prehistoric. The bagels taste like bread whereas yours tasted supremely bagel-y, they don’t know what “scooped out” means and the cream cheese at this place is like, made out of soy or something.

Today I saw the moving van outside your store. I watched as men with sturdy boots and thick gloves carried crates of expired kombucha and coconut water out of your door. They loaded forgotten boxes of surplus candy into their vans, and somewhere in there, I’m sure of it, was that almond bar I like.

I stopped by for one last look but I just couldn’t bring myself to go inside. That place holds too many memories. But it’s vacant now, just like my heart.

Still…whenever I smell hazelnut coffee, I’ll think of you.

Love always,


 Image shot by Steven Klein for Vogue Paris, 2007

  • Kate Barnett

    Dearest Amelia,
    I’m heartened to learn of moving trucks coming to clear the vestiges of a once overly ambitious super-bodega (the udon counter always felt a bit more quixotic than novel, didn’t it?). Perhaps a new corner store will emerge. One that never runs out of Ginger Spice Matt’s Munchies, and offers a broader assortment of screw-top wine. One whose hot bar will feel less like Russian Roulette and more like the steam tables at Lifethyme. I wish all this for us and more.

  • Olivia

    I can’t wait for this week’s “Let’s Talk About It.” Due to recent events this past weekend, I have a strong feeling that it might have something to do with a Mr. Woody Allen and separating the art from the artist. It’ll be interesting to read Leandra’s thoughts on the whole spectacle, especially since she is enamored by his work.

  • hila

    Amelia, I’m sorry about your deli loss. I can commiserate. One day I went to my waxing lady and the place was CLOSED. All that was left was the odd-hued paint on the walls. I went there for over 2 years and NOTHING. Not even a goodbye. I mean, what’s a girl to do???

  • Quinn Halman

    Amelia, girl, I feel you. Monday are always a kick in the balls (apparently that hurts a lot) but I bet this made you feel like this:
    The convenience store on my block closed a few months ago and I can’t figure out a good place where I can get my gum fix

  • Im heart broken with you. Absolutely love the way you write. Your words soak my soul in happiness. (Hearts in my eyes)…<3