You arrived back home late yesterday, about 6:30, pushing through with the force of will to make it to your own driveway, into your own back door. Five days on the road, but it’s enough of a break that it feels like forever. Feels like your own house is a stranger, a cat that wanders around a corner to stare at you with wary, accusing eyes.
The sink is full of dishes, the baskets are full of clothes. New boxes have sprung up next to the old ones, and feels like there’s so much flotsam and jetsam that you have to wade through ankle deep. The mailbox is overflowing, and electronic messages wait for attention. Nothing went anywhere, and the world didn’t stop moving.
You let the kids stay up and play as you rattle about the house, not making eye contact with anything. It feels like you should be doing something, but you know that once you start pulling on any single string, the web of what needs to be done will start closing in around. You finally hustle the kids off to bed. There’s a baffling brief burst of boisterous energy that surprises even them, and then they’re asleep as their heads hit the pillows, finally taking a chance to relax, to breathe.
And then it’s your turn to stumble off, find your warm dark room and drop into the blankets, and that’s the moment, when your head finds its own personal pillow, that’s when the house wraps it’s soft heavy arms around, and becomes once again your home. The cat leaps onto the bed and curls up behind your knees as you lie on your slide, warmth generated where you two touch that is more than the sum of either of you. You’ve been forgiven. Just don’t do it again.