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My Dearest Hastings,

It's been four years since you passed, but not a day has gone by that I haven’t felt the sting of your absence. I will never forget trying to convince my mom that the MA sticker on an Eminem CD actually stood for 'Mother's Approval.' I will never forget the countless hours I spent as a teenager, drinking Peet's coffee with my boyfriend, parading up and down each aisle, inspecting everything, too poor to buy anything.  Kisses were stolen there. Hearts broken.

As I grew older, Hastings, you were there for me still. You rocked me to sleep at night with CDs from the 99 cent bin. You filled my VHS player with 2-for-1 movies. I couldn’t stop. I visited you everyday. I knew the staff. I knew the store.

Your member card is still safe in my wallet.

They say if you love them, you have to let them go. But I've struggled. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news like it was yesterday. After the tragic passing of Hollywood Video and Blockbuster, you were all I had left. And I must admit, I spent years angry over it. I drove past your haunted empty buildings. I couldn't help but look over each time on the off chance this was all just a bad dream.

I want you to know that I have moved on. I’ve found streaming platforms. I've found Amazon Prime. I've found some comfort in the expansion of the digital era. But I haven’t found another Hastings. I'm losing hope.

I will never forget you. You encompassed all of the good things about the mall and none of the garbage. You provided a safe haven for goth kids and introverts. Thank you for the badass music collection I still have to this day, the posters that adorned the walls of my youth, and for making us all just a little bit cooler.

P.S. Barnes and Noble ain't got sh*t on you.