Nothing felt the same anymore. It was the third time Claire had circled the streets of her hometown, driving in a large rectangle.
It was fall, the leaves had created a golden brown pathway either side and the trees began to look bare. There was a nice air, something she’d felt every year in her town. What was her town.
Past the old run down supermarket where the E and R where missing from the above sign, she continued down the road. Moving onwards from her old school, she’d graduated and done little else since then.
It all looked as if was, as she’d always known it but she didn’t feel like it was her own town anymore.
She felt like a tourist.
Pulling into her home, the white stone walls, it wasn’t much but it was home. Where she’d been all these years, a lifetime between walls.
Her life felt belated, as if she’d held off too long and needed to finally make it out. The town was bare now, she wandered those streets time and time again and recognised everything, but didn’t feel like she belonged. She felt like a foreigner wandering, not sure what they’re doing, where they’re going, a bit strange because her little town never had any visitors from anywhere.
She went to her room, sitting on the bed and staring out at the horizon. The sunset had begun to roll in, make its way across with its orange and reds, tinging the sky pink.
On the bedside table rested an envelope, unopened at the seam. She held it for a moment, staring at her name. She then held it tight, staring out at the sunset. It craved a smile across her face for a brief moment then she rested back to stare at the ceiling.
A sudden urge for another wander burst into her body. These feelings she had of does she or not, how she felt, how she was going to feel and the thoughts rolling across her head.
She wandered past her neighbours, what would they think, she thought, her own family, the kids down the road that liked to say hi to her in the morning, all of them, but then would they even notice her missing?
The letter had been brought with her, hidden in her pocket and she didn’t even realise. Opening this would finalise the tourist inside her, the fleeing feeling she was having, solidifying it but there was no choice, no matter, she had to do it.
Holding it briefly, she flipped it over, standing under the large oak tree at the end of her road. Slipping the edge open in a tear, a thin paper was inside. A letter. The one that would change her life.
Carefully pulling it out and taking a deep breath, she opened the letter, reading it top to bottom.
She smiled, a smile of joy and fulfilling feeling. She’d made it, but the feeling atoned inside. She would be a tourist, but she’d also know she was always welcome here, in her hometown when she ventured back from her acceptance into University.