He hurts inside but wears a bright smile outside. He holds his farewell speech in his hands, he had it all worked out. He knew what he would tell his whatsapp group, the people who made his days. They who made this place actually feel like it was home, them who gave him a curve on his face even when his lips didn’t want to. He had the words to the group speech well chosen. The speech that would go out to all, those he talked with and those he didn’t. He had the last words to the caretaker well figured out, and well arranged. It had been a journey that was finally coming to an end.
It hadn’t been an easy one, finding his way ‘home’ must have been the toughest bit he ever came across. It first started with an email, the one he wrote to find out if the place he had just seen in the papers was actually home. It was followed by a call that made him bubbly, the voice behind the earpiece was one he would listen to for the rest of his life. What’s even bigger was the invite ‘home’.
The first visit was somewhat disappointing, he never got to meet anyone important, or so he thought. He was hosted by a cold lady. Her eyes told him “you are not needed here”. He regretted why he had gone out of his busy schedule to come see them. He couldn’t understand why he had gone through the pain of borrowing a tie, only to be treated like the unwanted stranger. He couldn’t wait to finish off his meal and go back to his life. It did not matter to him at this point that his life was one without a home.
Then there was the period that felt like forever, before the call came in again. This time, quite unexpected. Sited silently thinking of what next, his phone rang, the one call that got him doing “what next”. They wanted him to go home again. The thought of home made him forget the mistreatment he had gotten last time, and he went out to borrow another tie just to make sure he looked the part, or even better this time. The days prior to his visit, he made sure he did research on what ‘his people’ liked, what put them off and what irked them.
So he sits with balancing tears, the day was finally here. The day he would deliver this speech, the day he would type out his whatsapp message, the day he’d pour out his heart to the caretaker. And he sits and smiles as he waits for the letter that would finally stamp his passport out of the centre, maybe today, the children at the centre would tell him how much they would miss him, how much of a blessing he had been to them. Then the letter was placed in his palms and he opened it with enthusiasm, the first word read, REGRET…