The Way Home

Cropped header image by Tomasz Sienicki under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

It’s very often I dream of unfamiliar places, maybe even the long journey towards it via train stations to roads to even towns that don’t exist. For the first time in a long time last night, I dreamt of the journey home. It reminded me of the relief of coming home from every trip I’ve been on. Coming back from holiday a week or two ago, coming home from holiday last year, coming home after a long convention in October…

I did still dream the journey to my destination; it was a complete blur. I took a road from home that didn’t exist, a road with unevenly spaced shallow stone steps heading up through the garden of a quiet residential area of the town. There were small trees on either side of the steps and I remember being particularly fond of the area, even if I had no time for sightseeing. Just after the garden steps was a massive area of land under construction. A path I usually used was within the fences, but I wasn’t too badly inconvenienced. This part of town didn’t exist either but before I knew it, I was on the plane.

The holiday itself is lost to memory. I remember the standard in-dream panic of almost forgetting all my luggage and passport, checking out and taking the shuttle to the airport. Another fast-forward, and I was at the airport’s bus station, ready to get the first bus of many home.

The area the bus went through felt unfamiliar at first, areas I’d only ever passed through on the way to the airport. I was with a group of old friends on the bus. I hadn’t seen any of them in real life in a long time, but it felt relaxing to be with them here; we talked the whole way through. If I remember correctly, I was a good few years younger than I am today in this dream.

The second bus ride went through areas I’d seen a few times in my life before, but still mostly unfamiliar. It had started to rain now, a light rain that isn’t dangerous by itself but begins to build up puddles on the side of roads that all pedestrians fear. By the end of the second bus ride, some of my friends left as their homes were close to the bus stop. I was on the edges of my hometown now, and was surprised to see some areas now under construction.

The third bus ride was the best. Seeing my hometown again, the aches in my muscles seemed to go away as I watched the town of my home in the rain with people I’d known for almost a decade after what felt like months away. The bus went through an area I was familiar with, though an area buses didn’t go through. I wondered if it was even supposed to as the driver took sharp turns I thought dangerous through the streets, though I was too exhausted to feel worry so instead I felt happy that we were making good time home.

I got off a few hundred metres from home, with one other old friend who lived nearby. Only one street down and we were in the residential garden again. Even with the suitcase I was holding I couldn’t help but almost skip down the unevenly spaced steps. Past the final tree I said goodbye as my friend walked the opposite way to get home. A few minutes later I was in the part of town I saw every single day. I looked up to my house and took my keys out of my pocket and…the dream ended there.

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