It’s been a week since I put my nose outside the door, today I went to have a coffee with a friend. The first few minutes outside were very weird, my familiar street and neighbourhood seemed completely alien, as though I had just landed from another planet.
The sense of dislocation is familiar, happens whenever I go away for a few days or weeks, it’s strange that the neighbourhood continues on without me. So it would always take me a few days of re-entry after a holiday to regain my habits. But dislocation from illness is strange in a different way – the ten minute walk to the coffee shop seemed to take forever, I’m rusty with judging the lights, nervous of falling, awkward with choosing and paying for something to eat.
Planet illness is a strange place, which I’ve had to get used to in the last year, but it’s a while since I was confined to quarters and there’s something comforting and secure about not leaving the house. Slippery slope that one though.
So I had coffee and the world gradually returned to its pretty normal axis. Dropped by the supermarket and the cashier said he hadn’t seen me for ages – we talked about colds and how he gives people who sneeze and cough over him a beady look. Bumped into a couple of other people I know who wished me a happy new year.
Happy to get home in one piece with paper and a mountain of cards from friends far and wide. Realised that I do belong here after all. Back on the planet and relieved that the natives seem to understand me.