The vividness of traveling accompanies you home. For a brief time, like a companion reluctant to leave, she remains with you. Her presence allows you to experience the old as if it’s new.
Landing in Johannesburg, I could feel her with me. She skipped ahead of me as I walked down the ramp. Before stepping into the arrivals hall, she impatiently waited as I attempted to contain the goofy grin playing on my face. She presents the details of a place you have always known as blessings: smothering herself in starched white towels, smiling as she drinks straight from the tap. In a gesture of gratitude to the glass that protects the bathroom floor, she wipes the steam off its surface and kissing the kettle, she laughs when it singes her lips.
With remote in hand, the thrill of the quilt covering me did not come as a surprise to me. Full and cold, the fridge was a sight I had long since dreamt of. But I had forgotten to miss the darkness and its accompanying silence. That stillness, which I had been without, swallowed me home. She held my hand as we stepped into the quiet, searching for some distant noise in the night. When we eventually found it, I kicked my legs beneath the duvet, exhilarated by its faintness.
Looking around, wandering from room to room, it doesn’t take her long to understand that she doesn’t belong. With a few parting treasures, as you begin to take the comforts for granted, she, in turn, begins to leaves you.
For her encore, she lit up the curtains in flashes of light, shook corrugated iron outside my window to make a thunder that soothed and reverberated within me, reaffirming where I was every time the light hit the ground.