Lost and Found in Suburbia by Maria Molton

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

I ran into Sally from my High School days at Trader Joe’s in Scarsdale.    Sally, in high school, was a sweet, pretty smiley girl with perfect skin and shiny hair who wanted to get married and have a family.  So it was no surprise to me, that when I ran into her, she told me that she lived around here was married to a doctor and had two children.  That sweet genuine smile and perfect skin still intact after 20 years.  

 She asked me if I lived around here too and was surprised when I said yes…I said yes and added…”I live off of Wilmot – the new construction.” She knew exactly where that was and what that meant; and part of me wanted her to.   I live in a gated community with brand new homes that are not under 1.9 million dollars with my husband, a lawyer.  These homes speak loudly of girls with perfect skin and shiny hair married with children to lawyers and doctors…Sally was surprised because I never did fit in in high school.  There were the Sallys – sweet, pretty, smart and predictable.  There were the mean savage girls – aware of their mature sensual power and ruthless in their hunger to tear others apart.  And I was part of the “others.” Off the beaten path, quiet, knowing and alone, floating in a sea of perfect mermaids.

I blossomed in my college years…majoring in art, graduating Summa Cum Laude, moving to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, marrying my husband and living the epitome of city life.  The pulse, the people, the diversity, the color; a living breathing work of art, a crazy wild imperfect collage somehow fitting perfectly together.  We had to leave our apartment; the owners wanted it back.  I was convinced we had to move to the Suburbs for 2 reasons:

  1. Our apartment, although centrally located and quite beautiful, was riddled with everything but lions and tigers and bears oh my!
  2. It was always a childhood dream of mine to live here in Suburbia.  Somehow I believed that the bucolic setting and utter perfection of the tree lined streets and beautiful homes reflected life on the inside…perhaps for some people it does.  So when we finally moved here, I was shocked by my own very strong feeling of misplacement – I longed for the streets filled with people, black, white, yellow, red, rich, poor, tattered and tight…

And then in other moments I am standing in my gorgeous spacious brand -new home and I am sure that this is where I belong…how could anyone not belong here!?  I do the same things in Suburbia that I did in the city…I run errands, I cook, I paint…yet I feel lost in a haze of one- dimensional spectacular prettiness.  

So here I am at Trader Joe’s me with my scarred skin (I was hijacked by an unexplainable ruthless bout of adult acne some years ago) and my motorcycle boots talking to Sally with her beautiful skin, her perfect slacks and her sweet smile.  This is exactly where Sally belongs.  In that moment, I found, because I knew, undoubtedly, that I didn’t.

Maria Molton is a mother, wife and artist.

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