Time was, arriving “home” to my husband after time away on my own would be something to dread. I’d make sure I took the last possible flight into Newcastle, and I’d take my time collecting my luggage, paying for my parking and making my way to the long-term car park to collect my car. I’d make the drive from the airport into Newcastle last as long as possible. There was always a moment, when I turned from the long, tree-shrouded road leading from the airport onto the main highway that runs through Newcastle, where I’d be plunged suddenly from holiday to home, from anticipation to reality.
Getting home itself was always fraught. Although I could never predict with any certainty the response with which I would be met, I could confidently place what little money remained after my holiday on the fact that a loving welcome would quickly disintegrate into resentful anger. (Re-entry issues, I termed it, because I was trying to cope and minimising all the shit I had to put up with was one way of doing that. Still is, to be honest.) Anger that I’d gone away and had a good time without him, anger that he’d been left behind, anger that I’d come home and taken over the space he’d occupied on his own for however many days. Anger fed by fear, of course – but I’m only working that out now.
I’m still not through the novelty of coming home to my peaceful flat after time away. The novelty of returning to a true and safe home. The novelty of approaching the end of a holiday without the soul-withering dread I have done in the past. It makes me very blessed, and very grateful.
Although if the vacuum-cleaning fairy could have come whilst I was away, that would have been ok too.