Taylor rolled the last of her suitcases into the house and shut the door. With a huff, she pushed the luggage against the wall and walked into her new home. She had been working on it for over a year and now she was finally able to move in. She looked around the living room and at the muted shades of green she had chosen for the space and smiled. It was such a fulfilling feeling to know that she finally owned her own home. She had been living in apartments in the city for three years since leaving the med school. Her parents had begged her to let them buy her a home, but she had declined over and over again; this was something that she wanted to do for herself.
Throwing down her handbag, she walked over to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Inside, she found a few bottles of water. The thought hadn’t occurred to her when she went to pick up groceries.
“Ugh!” she said aloud in the empty house.
Grabbing her bag, she decided to head down to the local grocery store to get some things to last her a few days. As she walked out of her house, she noticed a car pulling into the driveway next to hers. The car looked brand new and fancy, but she didn’t expect anything less in this community. Although it was her first house, she had invested in it so that she could live in one of the more upscale communities outside the city. Her parents wouldn’t have approved of anything less.
Taylor looked up at the man who got out of the car and noted how handsome and tall he was. It wasn’t every day she walked by men like this. Before she could wave hello, a woman stepped out of the car and practically threw daggers her way with her eyes. Taylor kept her hand by her side and got into her car before she made enemies with her new neighbors.
At the corner store, she was surprised to find it well stocked with all the brands she liked. Down the dairy aisle, Taylor saw an older woman with short black hair chasing a toddler. The little girl was running towards her and so she reached down to catch her and swing her up off the floor.
“Oh dear,” the woman said, rushing towards her with a thankful smile. “She’s going to be the death of me.”
“She has a future in running,” Taylor replied smiling down at the little girl as she handed her over to her mother.
“Hey, I’m Paige,” the little girl said, extending her hand for a handshake.
“I’m Taylor” she replied. “I just moved in.”
“Oh, my gosh,” the woman said with a brilliant smile. “You don’t mean you’re fifteen?”
“Yes,” Taylor replied. “I’m fifteen.”
“I’m 17” Paige replied, “We’re neighbors.”
Taylor couldn’t believe her luck. She knew making friends in this neighborhood would be hard because most persons were professionals and so meeting her neighbor on the first day was a welcome surprise.
“I’m so glad to meet you,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d get to see any of my neighbors for at least a week.”
“We didn’t think we would ever see you,” Paige said. “We heard you were a neurosurgeon.”
“I am,” she replied, “but I have my own practice now, so I have a bit more free time.”
“That’s so nice,” the woman said. “You’re so young.”
Taylor blushed. She was twenty-seven, but it was still young for someone who had spent over seven years studying. The trick was that her parents had enrolled her in med school when she was eighteen. It was difficult at first, being the youngest in the group, but it became easier once people noticed that she was getting the highest grades in her courses. Although she didn’t make many friends, she came out on top and earned every possible award in the process.
“I started young,” she replied. “I always wanted to become a doctor.”
The woman began walking towards the trolley she’d been pushing and motioned Taylor to follow her.
“Well, you’re one of the lucky ones,” she said. “I’m thirty-three, a housewife, and I’ve never felt happier.”
She flashed Taylor a smile and Taylor didn’t doubt it. Her mother had once told her that it’s a woman’s choice to be whatever she wanted to be; whether a housewife or the leader of the world.
“Sometimes I wonder if that’s what I should have done,” she joked
“Oh no! It is terribly boring sometimes,” the woman replied. “Are you married?”
“No,” Taylor replied
She hadn’t even had a proper relationship. All through school, she had been dedicated and focused. In university, she had tried to date but when the relationship almost cost her a grade, she gave it up and swore off dating. She had no idea what it was like to have another person in her life and now that she was getting older, she was beginning to wonder how she would get out there.
“You can’t be a housewife without a husband darling,” Paige said with a chuckle. “I mean besides the title, you die of boredom without someone to attack the moment they get through the door.”
Taylor laughed at the way she described it.
“Poor Charles can hardly step through the door before I’m all over him,” she said. “Charles is my husband, by the way. You’ll like him. He’s an investment broker.”
“I can’t wait to meet him,” she said, trying to envision what Charles looked like. If he was anything like the investment brokers she knew, he would probably be chubby with a bald spot in the middle of his head.
“We should have dinner sometime this week,” Paige said, grabbing a carton of milk and plopping it into her cart. Taylor did the same. “Maybe tomorrow.”
“Oh no, I’m having my parents over tomorrow,” she said. “They came into town to see the house and so I’m making dinner.”
“Oh, that sounds wonderful,” Paige replied. “Wednesday then. We can make a night of it and I can invite some of the other families in the neighborhood.”
Her mind went back to the man and woman she had seen earlier, and she thought to ask Paige about them.
“What about my neighbor on the other side?” she asked. “I saw him and his wife earlier.”
Paige laughed, and it was such a surprise that at first, Taylor wondered if the woman was choking.
“You mean Conner?” she asked. “That’s not his wife. She’s the flavor of the week, or last week if I estimate right.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Paige stopped in the middle of the bread aisle and turned to look at her.
“You really have no idea who that man is?” she asked.
“No idea” Taylor replied
“He’s a basketballer,” Paige said, “a very scandalous one at that. He brings all these women around and then by the end of the week, they’re gone. The longest I’ve ever seen one staying was a month and that was because she kept coming back with different colored wigs.”
Taylor looked on incredulously. She could tell that Paige loved this topic. If her knowledge of gossip was up to date, there was a possibility that this Conner was a popular topic of discussion in the community.
“I don’t watch sports.” She said.
“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll have you up to date on everything you need to know about that man.”
She was about to tell Paige she didn’t need to know anything when Paige waved a dismissive hand in front of her.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. You’ll know everything you need to know to deal with that man soon enough,” Paige replied.
Taylor resigned herself to hear what the woman had to say if only to get a foot in on the neighborhood gossip. This was another reason she wanted to move to the suburbs. In the city, she didn’t know the people in her building. Everyone had been so closed off that it felt like moving from the sterile hospital to her sterile home. She wanted the ‘community feeling’ and she knew she could get it here.
Together, they continued to shop, and Taylor learned that the persons living across the road from her were both high-profile lawyers and their neighbors were authors. She got the entire rundown of everyone on their street just as she shopped. She took notes of names and careers so that she could have topics for the dinner she had coming up with her neighbors. By the time she was done and heading back home, the community took on a different light. She was eager to begin her life there.