Looking out of my penthouse suite onto the flat, seemingly infinite lights of the city of Dallas and its suburbs, I think about my lifelong attraction to cities. Their energy, their people, their institutions, their compact effervescence -- it's always drawn me. I've never lived in a city -- only in suburbs and towns. But when I take a vacation, I like to go to cities. Public transportation, street-level shops, the grid plan -- they all speak to me of the overflowing vitality of humanity packed into an urban setting.
I love my Arkansas town that allows me to live next door to where I work, that puts schools within walking distance of my house, that places services a five-minute drive away. But there's a city girl deep within me who would give it all up to live in a walk-up and shop at a corner market, eat ethnic food a few blocks away, decide to take a subway uptown to a movie or downtown to a show. Everytime I go to a place where I see the lights and the skyline stretching away into the distance, I dream the city dream.
It may be just as much of a fairy tale as the Disney stories Cady Gray loves, but I cherish it. Somewhere in between my fantasies and the urban reality lies a city where I could live a different life -- more sophisticated, more adult, more significant than the one I have now.