I come back in a daze knowing that it will be as I have left it. It will be mine, and yet feel so unknown. I find the key in a flurry of haste as the car pulls up to the door. Tchah, I should have had it ready in my hand and not been daydreaming. The key turns easily and it all looks normal. I breathe a sigh of relief. This is home. This is where I live, where I can walk in the dark without bumping into things. Where the wifi on the phone has connected even before i put my bag down on the table. I look around.

Jobs beckon me, and I look away. They don’t like it, but I ignore them. First I must drink some water. Switch on the fan. An airconditioner please. The fan refuses to come on, the regulator is broken. The unfinished jobs taunt me – they do not like it when I abandon them to cold dark lonely days. I have been away too long. Things don’t look as if they are where I left them. I am a bit lost.

I wander into my room. Absently open the cupboard. Rows upon rows of neatly hung clothes. All arranged by colour and season, as I like them. They look unfamiliar. Are they mine? Is this who I am when I am here? Some of them look like they have grown up while I was gone. If they could speak they might even have deeper voices that project all the way to the back of large rooms. Some look strange, like cold things left long in the fridge. I will give them time to get used to my presence – they will come around soon. They are mine after all.

They can wait. There are other things more important, like finding my phone and putting my local sim card into it. I left it at full charge on the little side table next to my comfy chair. It is not there. Oh, wait. I had put it in a safer place, in the drawer of my study table. Maybe. Or maybe I moved it again. Things are not as I had left them, even if they are exactly where I left them. Something has changed. We do not connect as we used to before I left.

We will give it time. We will first let go, rest a bit. Let us breathe the same air for a little while. Maybe we will find a path back to each other. Till then let me say my goodbyes to the paths that must be left behind. I have walked back to my home on these very paths that traveled. I turn to take one last look at who I was when I was away. I will have to let her go – the carefree, happy woman with the sunny smile and the uncreased brow. She was content to watch the water in the sun, the birds chirp busily as the book slipped from her hand as she lay in the hammock. She will not recognise the precise order of this house. She is not welcome here – she is the other who will bring chaos, sweeping through with sweet abandon, careless of the damage she does. She will light up the house with her laughter, but then forget to do the dishes.

No, she cannot stay, even if she is a part of me. It is her that the phone will not come to – it is an instrument of serious work, not to be trivialised by such like her. No, she must go. And I must return. I look at her for another moment and fold her back into my arms to tuck her away.  Her part is done. We will meet again next summer. Till then I don my cape again and look for the magic wand that gets things moving. I am back home. The phone is in my hand waiting to call the household to attention. The holiday is over.

(Just as if on cue, the doorbell rings. It is begun.)

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