Stay away from home long enough, and you become a stranger.

The sights were familiar, but everything was different. She spoke the language. They could reminisce about the past together. He remembered the way things were. They could talk about that. How it used to be.

But the future? The future was something they could talk about only in theoretical terms. Whatever future they might witness together, they would each see from different worlds. The future of this place would not touch them both the same way. He would be in it, living it; they were talking about his home. She was a visitor. A spectator, now, though once they were in the thick of it together.

There was no blame for her going. She had to go. He went, too, for a time.

But he came back. He needed to. There was something here for him.

And he found it. A career, love, a family of his own. A world more familiar.

She would return someday. That was a near-certainty. This would become her home again. It would be strange, for a while, as it always is. But it’s easier every time.