Safely tucked away beneath an extraordinarily large tartan umbrella, my feet begin to move faster when the crimson façade of The Elephant House Tea and Coffee Shop comes into view. J. K. Rowling wrote here, I think to myself, and with a quickening pace I realize just how waterlogged my socks are from the unrelenting storm currently drenching Edinburgh. I make a mental note that one can never have enough socks, while making it to the shop’s protective outer layer.
Upon reaching the wrought-iron handle perched on the side of a hazel-tinted door, I anxiously await the arrival of my lead-footed family. While waiting, I move to the left of the building and put my face to the window; the difference in temperature making it fog up. I find myself drawing “R+L” on the fogged glass, while also noticing the aroma of fresh rain and robust coffee wafting from the shop. This familiar smell produces a memory of a girl, with bushy brunette hair and buck-teeth, saying, “Why don’t we go have a Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it’s a bit cold, isn’t it?”
As my family reaches the outer sanctuary of the shop’s wooden awning, I finally grant myself permission to enter. My mother and sister zealously deviate to the tearoom at the back of the shop, while my father and I swerve to the left, approaching the cluttered counter from where we will order. Stretched from counter to ceiling are canisters readily waiting to be plucked from the shelving units and placed in one of many mix-matched teapots that are ranked like soldiers in battle. Upon a lengthy discussion with the cashier, whose nose was dusted with confection sugar, we decide upon a pot of spiced Chai tea.
With the order placed, my dad and I hastily push our way from the counter, now engulfed by a swarm of people, to the refuge of the tearoom. We find my mother and sister have occupied a table in the middle of the room, and when I finally take my seat, in a chair made out wood and crochet padding, I feel as if I’d been transported to a jungle. Framing the room is foliage placed strategically, like pegs on a battleship board game, and all around me herds of macramé elephants spring up like weeds. I pause for a second, asking myself if this is just my overactive imagination, and a voice in my head reminds me, “Of course it is happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
When our order arrives, it hits the faded pine table with a thud; furthermore, the waitress who delivered our order then produced a marker. She instructs me to take it to the door to which her immaculately manicured finger is pointing to, and hesitantly, I obey. As I stand, I hear the screech that my chair makes against the aging tile below its feet echo throughout the room.
Once I reach the restroom door, I come to the realization that I am not the first to be given a pen. Hundreds upon thousands of words cover every available surface, and to the right of the porcelain sink I notice a question without an answer. As I scribble in a response on the wall, I can’t help but smile, my adoration for a series now permanently etched for the world to see, “’You’ll stay with me?’” the question read, my answer, coming to my mind as easily as an image of a young boy with black hair, glasses, and a lighting bolt shaped scar, ‘until the very end.’”