I stepped into the shower and twisted the nob two and a quarter turns exactly. Driving, I reached for my phone in the left cup holder. And while falling asleep, I moved my foot between the wall and the mattress to feel the cold. In a lot of ways, coming home has been easy. I have slipped without thinking back into old habits. The familiar footsteps of my former self were not hard to find. They have been waiting patiently here for me. And in the movements that my body has been waiting to do – lean on my dad’s shoulder, lie in bed side by side with a friend, swing on the back porch and push off the coffee table with my left foot – I feel whole.
But there are other things I want to do now - jog down the steps into the metro, wander through the Latin Quarter looking for lunch, punch that damn four-digit code into the keypad at 6 rue, Ernest Renan. But there is no more brass keypad, no falafel to be found, no foul-smelling subway below me. And it is in these moments that I know. I know that although I am home, I have left my city behind me.