Hi, Hey, Hello!
It’s Monday and also day 4. And I’m still kind of okay with this task…it’s early days though still. Check back with me in a week where I’m probably both loving and hating this task at the same time. Mainly loving it though…
‘There’s nothing like summer in the city’
I can see the city unfolding through the tiny oval window of the plane as it starts its descent.
I’ve been gone for 6 months. Residing in a different city with an arguably similar vibe to the one that I call home. But it isn’t that. Home.
There’s a certain level of excitement that comes with watching the blinking lights of your home city twinkle into view. About knowing that I’m soon to be reunited with those who know me best. About the prospect of returning to your own bed. To a room that remains relatively untouched. Is somehow static yet full of life. A room that has seen many highs and a lot of lows.
There’s something reassuring about it all. About knowing that this place will always be there. Will always feel comforting. Like a warm embrace.
There is also a slight note of sadness in knowing that my time at home will be short lived. About knowing that in a matter of weeks I will be looking at the same view, only it will be getting smaller and not more imminent.
I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. When I open them again I’m back on solid ground.
And I’m officially home.
Stepping into the arrivals lounge I’m greeted by the muted green and white lights of an M&S and the blue of a WH Smiths. And the unexpected arms of Maddie wrapping themselves around me.
Madeline. Maddie. Mads.
Effectively my twin sister without the sharing of a womb part. Born 25 minutes apart in the same hospital and thrust together by fate as both our parents bonded over the shared experience. Where our parents slowly drifted apart, Mads and I became the best of friends. We saw each other through dodgy haircuts, public wardrobe malfunctions, make up mishaps, two break ups and mutually supported and partook in exam related breakdowns. We built up each other’s successes, helped each other through our failures, called each other out on their shit.
In our lifetime we’ve had one huge fight that after 2 months of general misery was ended when Mads’ brother locked us in a bathroom and we got our acts together. We’ve been better at communicating since. And naturally grown up hugely.
Once Mads’ finished squealing and had pulled back enough for me to breathe again I noticed said brother leaning against a pillar watching the reunion happening in front of him with a smile.
Born 11 months after Mads and I. He was 7 when he realised that he didn’t have two sisters, that’s how close we were. Still are. Nate’s always been a reassuring presence, a voice of wisdom. Something Mads has always been reluctant to accept because it’s her little brother. I’m sort of grateful for it.
Nate and Mads are almost polar opposites to one another. They’re the best of friends, but they’re totally different. Mads is all vivid rainbow colours that you can’t help but notice, Nate is more muted. Still a rainbow, but one in more pastel colours. Takes a while to notice, but it’s worth it.
Nate’s always been worth it.
He pushes himself up off the pillar and pulls me into a one armed hug, nestling me into his side. A solid, warm presence. Being hugged by the pair of them feels more like home than just landing at an airport in the city that I grew up in.
Driving out of the airport and watching Mads seamlessly navigate her way onto the motorway and set off in the direction of home I felt at peace. The lights dotted periodically along the road zooming past in blips of yellow. The other cars moving along besides us. The slight vibration against my head as I rest it on the window and let my eyes slip shut. The gentle pressure of Nate’s little finger against my own. Everything seems to be back in balance again.
Not that things at work aren’t great. I have a huge opportunity and I am making the most of it. But it does mean not being here. Not being with the people that I love more than anything. There’s a time difference that seems almost impossible to deal with. There are things happening in this city that I am always playing catch up on and am never really a part of. I mean, I’m included but I’m not a part of it. There’s a disconnect. Even sat in this car with the two people who know me best, I still feel slightly disconnected.
I can hear Mads talking excitedly about all the things that we can finally all do again because we have been reunited. Talks of brunch and picnics in the park, BBQs and family dinners. All the things that I have missed so much while I’ve been gone, but somehow still don’t feel a part of.
Nate must sense that. He can always sense things. In a different way to Mads. She addresses these kind of moods by focusing on the positive and all the possibilities, Nate addresses them by letting me wallow. Both are good. Both work. But right now where I am getting both at the same time in this small car space, it’s his that I prefer. Maybe it’s the jetlag. Maybe it’s because in 7 weeks, when the summer is effectively over, they will still have brunches and family dinners and I will be back to my work life. My great work life, but away from them nonetheless. Wallowing and seeing everything that comes out of Mads’ mouth with a bittersweet twinge seems to work better for me than the rose tinted view she is coming at it with.
We’ve always been very different too like that. Two sides of the same coin. Almost. It’s why we’ve always worked. And always will.
The sun starts to break out over the horizon and light the city skyline up in a deep orange. The world outside the window looks richer. It silhouettes Nate’s profile and glints off the ring on my finger. The sky is a deep magenta, brightening up into an array of blues. Mads’ is still going on about all the things we are going to do like it was my first time here and not the place I call home. Nate is smiling and while yes, everything is bittersweet it doesn’t detract from the fact that I’m back.
For 7 weeks, I’m back.
And it’s going to be a great 7 weeks.
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