The air is turning crisp, and the last of the outdoor tables linger. Cold mornings, but it is still warm enough at midday, warm enough to share a cup of coffee with a friend. This one sits at a busy corner, reflecting tracks for the train that rushes by. I tell my city friends -- Oak Park is on the subway. Two subways! So it's not really a suburb, right? Just fifteen minutes from downtown; that's closer that most of the city itself! But my claim rings hollow even to myself, and my friends are not convinced. Since moving here, it has become almost impossible to coax them out to visit.
I am slowly resigning myself to the loss of most city friends. I will see them occasionally, when I am willing to come in. They will come out for special occasions, perhaps. But the easy monthly potluck brunch days are gone. Or rather, potlucks will be for new friends, suburban friends. The kind who will meet me for coffee, perhaps after leaving work a little early. The ones who do not mind the train rushing by, who have learned to love this suburb that is still half-city.
A hybrid place, perhaps perfect for someone who has always been hybrid herself. Never one thing or the other, always with feet straddling deeply divided worlds. Maybe it is for the best. Maybe, in a divided place, I can grow something whole and entire.
Marion Street Cafe, Marion and South Boulevard, 10/7/10