A sunny Monday afternoon and here he was hunched towards the screen mulling over work and the tasks pending execution. This shall be his fourth week back since that innocuous furlough that felt like a lifetime ago. It was as if that period in the year thus far had never occurred. As if he never went and never returned. As if the fragment was indeed just a part of memory with the artefacts obtained during that period being his only tangible reassurance that he did ventured to distant places.
Yes, there were artefacts. As numerous as they may be, they were losing its meaning as time pursued. They were like his vivid experiences fading through the weeks of reality and the overpowering and consuming vacuum of work.
He has acquiescent to the notion that all will inevitably acclimatise to the status quo. Even the most resilient of minds are not immune to the powers the habitual. The beaten path will consume us. This was exactly as he feared. He knew it would be ineffectual to fight it. This shall only lead to disappointment.
Already the weather has begun to show the traits of Winter albeit it being the early months of Autumn. Waking up to a 12 degree room at 7 in the morning was agonizing.
He hastened to get changed donning on the artefact obtained almost a month ago. Walking in the cold, he placed his hands in the pocket only to find a crisp piece of paper inside. Peering at the unfamiliar writing he was overwhelmed with the recollections of the last night in that city.
That was the first and last meal with them, he conceded this in his heart as the evening progressed. The paper was symbolic of the kindness a new friendship could muster. Scrawled on the note was the diligence of a new friend who over dinner wrote all she could remember for him to get home that night in a blistering foreign city that was just recovering from the hostility of Winter.
And then they waved goodbye, their embrace still warm on his cheeks. He looked back at them as he disappeared down the flight of stairs into the subway… Their eyes revealing to him the same emotions that flooded his thoughts. He scurried down as fast as he could, his hair flailing from chilling air from the underground wind. It was midnight, it was the last train home. He found a seat in the carriage and sat down as he regained his breathe. By then the warmth of their embrace had already left him. Just as he did them.
He is home now.