You walk in your front door again.
It is a week since you last locked it, a taxi in front of the house idling, ready to take you to the airport. For the first ten minutes of that drive – while there was still time to turn around if you had to – you had mentally reviewed the rooms you just left. You had rested your hand on different places on your body where a wallet or a passport or an e-ticket was stored. Reassured, you had finally smiled and settled yourself into the upcoming stretch of life away from home.
For a week, then, I got a life away from home.
For months ahead of that week I had gotten to plan with others accommodations and meals and itineraries. I had even gotten to plan which parts of the week I might leave unplanned, which afternoons I could suddenly, almost capriciously take a place at a table on a sidewalk in Paris and order my refreshment of choice. And just sit.
Life away from home is – by definition – a kind of public life. You sleep in a place available at other times to other people. You eat in places available to the next guest who darkens the doorway after you leave. You travel with a subway ticket that could just as easily have ended up in someone else’s hand for the length of a trip beneath Paris neighborhoods.
In time you get through all these novelties and familiarities, though.
In time you pay another taxi driver and roll your luggage down the walk leading to your front door.
In time you face the home spaces you thought you knew.
You just need time to live there again.