Oh hello there. I didn’t see you come in. Who let you in? I thought I’d closed the back door. You really have to stop sneaking up on me like this, it isn’t good for my health.
You look well. Well, you look exactly the same as you always do. How is it you never change? How is it I have changed so much, but you – you don’t look a day older than the first time we met. When was that? Perhaps when I was six years old and made my friend’s mother call my Mum to come and pick me up because I didn’t want to sleep over. Or was it when I was sixteen and on a school trip to the states for two weeks. Remember the first night, I called home to let them know I had arrived safely, and suddenly started crying? I know, I know, it was ridiculous. I was only away two weeks – but something about the sounds on the other end of the phone, and my Mum’s voice all of that familiar clatter, and there I was in a hotel on the other side of the world. The world suddenly felt so big, and I so small. And if I was small and the world was big, well then, I needed to be back in amongst that familiar clatter. Anyway, you left eventually, and I put that familiar clatter somewhere safe in the back of my mind and made new friends and had extraordinary experiences that will stay with me for life. Because that’s the trade off, isn’t it. You know that, I know that. Still – it doesn’t make you any less likely to drop by.
Actually, I suppose, now that I think about it, you have changed a little. The world no longer feels big, and I no longer feel so small. There is someone smaller than me, now, someone infinitely more important. She’s changed everything, including you. Because, now that you are here, I feel I should tell you this – now when I feel you, I feel you on behalf of her. I think about her upcoming first birthday, and how none of my family will be here to celebrate it. Such a thought then metastasizes, and I fast forward through the years and think of all the things my family and my child won’t be together for – a slippery slope that deposits me into the mud of self pity. I know that mud, Lord knows I have squelched about in it before. It’s just that now, the thoughts that take me there are different. In a way, I suppose, it is reassuring. Time changes you too – you aren’t immune. If time can change you, can it also reduce you, diminish you, make you go away? Don’t laugh, that was a serious question.
The thing is, and I don’t mean to be impolite, but you tend to ruin things. Your very presence makes my days heavy. Suddenly every song I hear seems to have the word ‘home’ in it, and the fact an old friend is getting married today and I am not there, makes me think about every wedding I have missed and will miss, and every baby whose birth I will miss, and all of these milestones that will occur while I am here, and they are there. You make me unbearable to be around, because all I want to do is mope, mope and entertain fantastical, unachievable notions of figuring out a way of life that would ensure you didn’t exist. The other irritating thing about you – and I think you secretly enjoy this fact about yourself – there is no solution. Particularly not anymore. It’s too late for that. ‘Going home’ isn’t an option, because home is here and home is there, and it’s all very messy.
Anyway, I don’t quite know why you’re here. The sun is shining, Spring in all of her exquisite colour is here. There is so much to look forward to. I have my health and family and friends. My parents were here, just the other week, and we had a wonderful time. By all accounts, you shouldn’t be here. Ah, but, and you know what I am going to say; you flourish in all environs. The only thing you need is me, and I am always here.