The first restaurant that I had gone to when I returned to the main line was Sabrina’s at Wynnewood Shopping Center. I was getting brunch with a friend I haven’t seen in six months, and when we had went for brunch once in the past, it had been at the Sabrina’s at Wynnewood Shopping Center. As someone who craves comfort after being an unfamiliar environment for the past semester, I chose Sabrina’s because I wanted a source of consistency in my life. I knew, from experience, that Sabrina’s had the ability to launch me into the past.
When I had returned from London, I wanted to explore these areas that I have not willed myself to explore, such as the main line. I had quite a lot of time in London, compared, at least, to other phases in my life, and I had used a large amount of that time to walk around London to kill time. It was a phase in my life where the idea of transportation had not been defined through getting from one destination to another. While my schooling days had been defined by efficient car rides from my parents, I learned in the past semester to walk without the worry for making a deadline.
Despite defining the my life from age 5 to age 18, I do not know the main line that well. Namely, I never bothered to explore because my schooling days had been defined by hyper-efficient allocations of time. The prospect of wandering had not been present in my life until after I had gotten into colleges in my spring semester of my senior year. This space in my life had been filled rapidly, with little regard for the completeness of the discovery. It was just me experience the novelty of the world around me with my high school friends. Such was the nature of discovery.
It was not so much the act of discovery as much as the act of sharing novelty, and there is only so much novelty that can be experienced in our lives. It seems so long ago where I could view the world with excitement. Now, it seems the same to me. Everything. There is only so much more novelty that exists in the world for me, if I can find them at all. Even as I leave to spend my summer working in Manhattan, I do not view the city with the same glamour as so many people do. Similar to Esther in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, it seems quite dull to me. I should be grateful for the opportunity of living in New York, but it is all the same to me. One phase in my life transitioning into another same phase.
When we had settled into Sabrina’s, the restaurant had been filled with… well, white people. As the only two minorities in the entire room, I found the experience to be simultaneously familiar but also illuminating. This was the main line. I had gone to restaurants in the main line since my childhood, but this was the first time that I had genuinely noticed it. The location is supposedly very liberal, but these are the “limousine liberals” that I have read about in the past. It is only liberal to the extent that liberal policies do not affect their comfortable suburban lifestyle. It is only liberal until the desire for equality of opportunity starts to affect them. It is only liberal by name.
The waitress went up and asked us if we wanted any drinks. I ordered a coffee. I craved a coffee from an American diner. She had ordered an Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar. When she came back to us for our drinks, I ordered the vegan brunch, which came with a seitan wrap with vegan cheese, pico de gallo, and fruit. I was not vegan, but I find myself more incapable of eating heavy things in the morning any longer. It seems that I am more and more incapable of enjoying the same foods that I have enjoyed in the past. She ordered a vegetable omelette with a side of turkey sausages.
The meal, with tip, came out to $20 each. It was, by far, the most expensive meal that I have had in the past 6 months. I should not have been surprised, as I had eyed the prices of my food on the menu before I ha ordered, but I did not expect the coffee I ordered without finding it on the menu to be $3. That jarred me, but I really should have expected the total to be the way it was. After all, this was the Main Line.
After brunch, I drove to Narberth Park, and we walked around the Narberth area for a bit. It is interesting. I have been to this area before a couple of times, but the same emptiness that had defined living in the suburbs of Philadelphia bothered me in a way that it had not previously. I have not been able to experience true emptiness for quite a while, where a relatively popular area does not have people passing by for hours at a time. The area is quite developed, with a movie theater that I had watched Coraline in over ten years in the past. But, walking around this area on the Sunday before Memorial Day, it was absent of people. Why is it absent of people?
I expected my perceptions of a given area, following the tradition of Romantic subjectivism in Jane Eyre, to correspond to my mental states in a given time period of my life. This area was not an exception. Coming from a place of feeling alienated, I continued to feel alienated in this region of Narberth. It was so empty. This was something that I was not used to. This is not something that I want to become used to. This was the novelty of a past that is no longer novel. This is dulled version of the excitement that I had felt in the past, in one of the few moments I felt home. Such is a moment that has passed by, leaving only me saddened by the prospect of what once was.
There is so few moments in my life where I had been truly comfortable in my surroundings, where I felt genuinely at home. But that raises the question that I have been asking all of my life: what is home?
Is home where my friends and family are?
Is home where I had fallen in love?
Or is home just an elusive dream
I have been chasing