Three and a half weeks. Just enough time to get away and get used to it. Just enough time to forget about the subtle details of the home you've created away from home. Not enough time to forget what you keep where and what you did the day you left. Placing the key in the lock, the deadbolt slides back. Strangely, the knob is unlocked. A vivid memory of checking the doorknob to see that it's locked springs to the front of the brain. Enter the house. Meet a strong odor of gas. Reflexes cause a wrinkle of the nose. Listen. Crickets chirping loudly. Crickets running across the carpet. A cricket sunning itself on the empty table. Raid, whew, it's so good to see you again. Bye, crickets.
An accidental spray of Raid. A resulting flare of fire in the heater. Oops.
The air conditioner is on full blast. Ninety degrees in the house. Gross. Walk outside to cool off. Walk back inside. That's funny. The thermostat has been moved to the hottest temperature. No wonder it's so hot in here. Burning up. Reality. Someone's been inside. Someone unlocked the door, turned the thermostat all the way up, then left and forgot to fully lock the door. Possessions remain, everything untouched, as it was before. Confusion. New list of home improvements. New locks for the doors. Turn off the heater, pilot and all. Beg for a more modern gas stove. At least electricity doesn't smell like gas.
Feeling sleepy. Jet-lagged by the one-hour difference in time. Used to being in bed by now. No point fighting it any longer.