Have you ever missed something so badly that you could smell it? There's this restaurant in Virginia that has this pizza. Everyone from Lynchburg knows at this point that I'm obviously referring to Rivermont. When I close my eyes and think about Lynchburg really hard I swear I can smell Rivermont Pizza. I can smell glasses of Crispin with shots of Fireball dropped into them. I can smell barbecue sauce and pineapple and mozzarella on some really solid pizza crust. I can smell my 24th birthday party. Most my closest friends crowded at two wobbly tables pieced together, listening to the rest of our closest friends playing Christmas jazz music. It smells like joy, for me. That community, those laughs. 

It smells like joy.

Community, for me smells like pizza now. It probably always has. Community with my husband in the most financially stretched times of our relationship has smelled like a pepperoni pizza from Dominos. All of my late-night-talking-too-loudly-about-happy-sad-or-infuriating-things conversations happened at Rivermont Pizza.  It was fitting that I'd spend my last birthday in Virginia at a pizza restaurant with the greatest community I've ever known.

When my husband's side of our family goes to the beach, we always end up eating at the same pizza restaurant. We split up into two or three tables, We cram ourselves in with paper plates and fountain sodas in styrofoam cups. We anticipate greasy New York style slices that will soon be covered in parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. And it's consistent. The pizza isn't great, but it's always the same and there's so much merit to that. That meal always feels the same. 

I'm glad that for me community smells like that.