The other home

Back in Melbourne, and the rain is hissing on the road outside the open window.

In Carlton tonight half of Lygon Street was closed, ready for tomorrow’s festival. A pizza oven was parked where our bus stop should be. So we walked along Elgin Street between the showers of rain, the air still warm and smelling of bitumen. We got a bus and changed to a tram at the junction.

At home when it rains on the bitumen in summer, the air smells of eucalypt and is washed clean of the sea. But it only rained once that I can remember, all summer at home. It rained just after I left the water one evening, so I missed out on swimming in the rain.

Back in Melbourne, the other home. The sea is far away, but not too far. On Monday a different life begins, a new routine. It is as though the time on the other side of the country exists in a bubble, a time capsule. Melbourne seems unchanged. It is as though I have not been gone at all.

Coming back here makes me glad, because it is good to come back to a place that once was strange and that now is littered with a history of my own. We have a past together, this city and I. We have had this past for a long time, but it takes a year and a half here and a few months away to realise it.

Sometime soon it will be time to live in another city or another place, and then I must remember: after a while, when you have lived there long enough to have a routine and to know some of the place intimately, go away for some time and then return, just to see how it feels to come back.