I know I’m in a healthier place, yet I can’t help but look back at all the memories we’ve shared. It's been a long 3 years since we started going steady and I wouldn’t take back a single slice. The relationship wasn’t healthy in any sense of the word. There were always red flags… I knew Pizza Mart wasn’t treating me right. Maybe that’s what kept me coming back.
Freshman year was our honeymoon phase. Pizza Mart was always there for me.
I remember when we first met. I was fleeing Craig’s (RIP) on a tip that it was soon to be raided. With wide eyes I followed an exodus of conditioned college kids to what I soon found to be Mecca. Bodies shoved into the warm, welcoming, glow of Pizza Mart and somehow, magically, the smell of Bud Light, sweat, and vodka was overpowered by those slices.
I knew right then and there I had found something special.
I even introduced my best friend from home to Pizza Mart because it just felt that right.
Sophomore year. April 6th, 2016. The first time I confronted the fact that maybe, in fact, Pizza Mart was not everything I held it to. Wednesday night at Murphy’s turned into Thursday early morning at Pizza Mart. Except this time there was trouble in paradise. A disagreement inside between student and staff escalated into a violent argument outside. The student’s stomach was bleeding from a knife wound, the assailant was nowhere to be seen; all left to be discovered by a hungry student in search of those mozzarella sticks.
When I heard this I was in shock. I vowed to end things then and there. I mean come on, is this where I want to spend the wee hours of the night? I was strong in my conviction until I saw people slowly bringing their business back. As anyone so desperately in love will tell you, it isn’t easy to walk away.
It took me six hours into my next semester at Loyola before I was in line at Pizza Mart. And after a summer and semester abroad, the reunion was as sweet as ever. The front end of 2017 was a beautiful time in our relationship; always full of smiles and laughs and lots and lots of carbs. Reflecting now, I know there were a few too many stomachaches I overlooked. There may have been some housekeeping issues I blocked out. None of that mattered. Pizza Mart made up for it with a free slice once in a while or the occasional extra fries in the bag.
As I’m writing this it occurs to me that it most likely wasn’t the generosity of Pizza Mart management but someone else’s order and I’d like to use this platform to offer my most sincere apologies.
Things changed for me senior year. 3900 York Road was less of a haven for the hungry and started to show its true colors. A late night bite post Zen during syllabus week was when I knew we were over.
I woke up the next morning at 7:12 am and crawled to CVS for a squeezy blue Gatorade. I was hit with the worst hangover of my 21 ½ years and the only thing I could chalk it up to was the slice of cheese pizza I had five hours earlier.
Monday morning rumors spread that Pizza Mart was closed with photos circulating of the health code violation letters. I didn’t know if I should mourn the loss or rejoice in the fact that I didn’t need to rely on my will power alone to keep me from the joint; I had the Baltimore City Health Department to ensure it. I quickly came to terms with the closing and suddenly I was resting easier.