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Home-bound 1.0

We leave in the morning for home. We leave this exile, homebound. This place of weirdly warm winter temperatures for country more accustomed to winter’s vagaries. I wonder if we’ve lost our edge, our ability to stand in the freezing fog. I wonder how home might feel after this long exile.

I hesitate packing my bags, finally concluding that I’m just better off stuffing everything last minute in the morning. No regrets. Little opportunity to succumb to the temptation to iron what the luggage will only wrinkle worse. No first guessing; I’ll leave with whatever accreted then and suffer or enjoy the consequences.

I sometimes over-plan these excursions. Even when I’m planning a trip into the future rather than into the past, I’m fully capable of plotting every turn. But this strategy never results in experiencing the anticipated turns. More often, it encourages a certain disappointment in divergence. Nobody needs that.

For this excursion might be all about divergence. Away from the Spring-like December into an arctic one. Away from the encumbering Beltway into more familiar scenery. I warmly anticipate everything but the leaving, even though returning might be all about leaving again.

There will be much I cannot do, witness to what I could not have done in my absence. My absence will come present then, a little embarrassed at all he could not possibly have done. This will be no salvation, no decent excuse.

We left in as close to a fever as I’ve ever experienced. That last evening, with a few dear friends gathered in our almost empty home. They brought their own chairs, ours already outbound in a big old truck. We laughed just as if we might someday reconvene, though we never did. Never could. And the place we return to holds the vestiges of even that last pot luck supper, still warm after nearly half a decade.

We will walk long-familiar streets, strangers as only past neighbors could ever be. We will see progeny grown unbelievably in our absence. We might even miss ourselves there, them being stuck somewhere between a time before the fall and before the full recovery.

In our time, people like us fell into cracks. We fell far and could not see the top from where we landed, and we grew accustomed to living in those shadow lands. Other people live where we used to thrive, and they thrive there in our stead. We are absent without reasonable leave; we might almost come back this time.

Our future seems more uncertain than ever before. We know now what we couldn’t suspect then, that we never were in charge, just fortunate to be there. There being no more reward than punishment. We return, almost triumphant, shadowy presences, neither here nor there.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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