Monday, August 18, 2014

City On The Soles of My Shoes

I don't miss living in Manhattan. Really I don't.

When we first moved to the suburbs I missed it a lot. That's probably an understatement. What I really meant to say is that I missed it like one would miss her right arm, if she suddenly found herself without it.

But time moves on and things change and so do people, and one day you wake up and you realize that thinking about your life in the city isn't painful anymore. Instead, you think of it like you would a fond memory, while at the same time remembering things like carrying heavy bags of groceries 10 blocks home, getting stuck in the elevator of your very tall apartment building, shoving yourself into packed subway cars just to get to work, and paying $2 for an apple. All the things you conveniently forgot when you suddenly didn't live there anymore and spent your days thinking about staking a "for sale" sign in your brand new front yard and heading straight back to the urban jungle that raised you and made you into exactly the kind of person who would be brave enough to leave the life she knows and loves for a life that is an utter unknown.

But then it's not an unknown anymore. One day it becomes a life you love and a life you want and a life you are happy to be building in this moment, in this place.

But on a Sunday morning in August you wake up and you find yourself missing the rush of the city on a summer weekend. So you get in the car and you head south. You meet your best friend for brunch at that place you both love in the neighborhood you used to rule and you eat cinnamon toast with strawberry butter and drink cocktails and you do Sunday the way that Sunday in the city is meant to be done. And you wander into boutiques and try on dresses and buy a gold bag and purple eyeshadow because you're there and it's there and it's a Sunday in the city so why wouldn't you? And you sit next to each other in pedicure chairs and you talk about life before husbands and houses, and about how much this neighborhood has changed since you left and how that's sad and not-sad all at the same time. But then you find out that the nail place you've been going to for ten years has been sold and has a new owner and a new name and you are both stunned because for some reason your nail place is the one thing that isn't allowed to change. Ever.

And when afternoon becomes evening and it's time to go you turn on some music and point your car north. And you drive down your street and wave to your neighbors and open the door to your house that was once new but isn't new anymore. And you settle into the quiet that is so different from the wild cacophony of Manhattan but you realize that you need the quiet to recover from the noise and you have both now and that's kind of miraculous.

Because you may live in the suburbs, but there will always be some city clinging to the soles of your shoes. 

Exactly the way you like it.


  1. I'm glad you are settled but close enough to visit. Best of both worlds! I am fortunate to have lived near 3 of the greatest cities in the US. San Francisco, NYC, and Boston. But the burbs have been home ever since I moved out of SF 20 years ago! Sorry I missed you in NYC. Let me know if you are ever in Boston!

  2. I especially like that line about the nail place not being allowed to change. I know what you mean even though I never get my nails done. And I've never live in a big city. But still I understand.

  3. So nice. I am a small town girl, who used to go into the city on business once a week. I began to feel like a part-time city girl - and I liked it. Part time, that is.