“So, do you finally feel at home?” He asks me casually. I look up from my beer to his face, one I still know well even though it has gotten older in these years of absence. His hair has gotten longer; his voice is still the same. He is a person I know; yet one I’m not familiar with. There is a sense of calmness over him that tells me that he does feel at home. Where ever that may be, I don’t know. In these four years he has become a stranger to me, of whom I know random details that are still stuck in my memory. Like his dislike for chicory, his shoe size, and even the way he lights a cigarette and smokes it still set a familiar scene.
I don’t have an answer to that question, so I just smile, take another sip of my beer, put down the glass and hear myself say “yeah, maybe.” But the truth is, in that moment it doesn’t matter whether I finally found myself a place to feel at home or not, the thing that does strike a chord is that he remembers these details about me too. Two strangers with too much shared memory and no shared future.
I gave up on the anger a long time ago, resentment a little later. I filed him in a segment of the memory-box that I hardly ever returned to. I went through all these stages of grief and arrived to a peaceful state of mind again. Yet, I never expected to wholeheartedly be able to say: I hope you’re happy.