I didn’t know my way around my parents’ new house, since the old one had burned down. It was on the same plot of land, and the same treasures from travels all over the world filled it, but they’d bought a house elsewhere and had it moved onto the plot. I never would stop seeing it as a labyrinth, having trouble even finding the stairs up or down.

They sent me to the corner store to get some groceries, just like they had in decades gone past. The old IGA was open again, downtown on the corner, as if it had never left, as if all its broken tile floors and worn-out conveyer belts had just been sitting in storage for twenty years.

On my way back–at a run, because time and daylight are short–I see my aunt and uncle coming into town, my father’s big sister and part of her brood. They shout to me, sing a little “Happy Birthday” out the window. It’s embarrassing, but I know their heart is in the right place. They are driving one of the cars of their generation, outdated and gigantic, a glacier with oval side windows and faux vinyl, but it’s a good fit.

When I reach home, I have visitors. Old friends, or were they rivals? We’d gone to school together and gone our separate ways. But they’d never been far from my mind, and I was flattered to see that the same was true. The old swingset was back in my parents’ backyard, or perhaps a new one of the same design, and we sat in the three seats idly talking of days gone by. Some old secrets were shared, and we each asked after people we’d lost track of. I had to tell one of them how truly little I cared for his opinion, and the other seemed to cut me to the quick with her questions, innocent as they seemed.

I am older, yes. I am older. But that does not mean all is lost.

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