Return is the best bit of being away

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If I had all the money in the world, I’d see the world.

I live for my holidays; I love getting on a plane and a few hours, in less than it takes to get round Meadowhall, being in another land. A place where the weather, the sights, the people - the everything - is so different to home’s and where you get to forget your work, your life - your everything - and just be.

But there’s something so peculiarly special about coming home; of walking through your own front door and smelling the familiarity.

On Sunday morning, 2am and suitcase-laden, we’re doing just that. Staggering over the threshold, exhausted yet ecstatic to be BACK, taking deep breaths of our own dust, me longing to see my Boy (for all of our five days in Morocco, my phone had no signal).

But the house that looks like a scene from the Marie Celeste. As the dog wags himself into a frenzy around our legs, we make it to the kitchen where empty plates with the remains of a breakfast lie on the kitchen table and a mucky pan sits on the cooker.

A light burns in the living room; there’s another one on in the bathroom where a stinky towel lies forlorn.

We are almost too tired to switch on annoyance at the thoughtless waste of electricity and the fact that the ruddy towel would now be nice and dry had it been returned to its rail on the radiator.

No point, anyway; though there are traces of Boy all around us - even the heady whiff of Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb lingers in the air - he is nowhere to be seen. Oh the days when I’d be off on a press trip and he would be counting down the sleeps to my return, desperate to hurl himself into my arms and ask for his present.

We drop the bags, head for bed (our own sides for the first time in five days - what joy) and fall immediately into a fitless sleep.

For once, I don’t wake five times to check my phone and pad down the hall on the pretext of going to the bathroom, to peer round his bedroom door to check whether the varmint has returned and if any vomiting has been going on in the house.

Next morning, Bloke awakes me with the customary cup of tea I have missed SO much and informs me Boy has just got home. At 9.30am.

What on earth has he been doing? Commonsense tells me he’s been at some party but Motherly Paranoia is whispering ghoulishly into my inner ear.

Maybe he’d crashed his car and been arrested and has just been turfed out of the cells. Seriously, I did actually think that.

I’m scuttling down that hallway faster than you can say As-salam alaykum. But on arrival, he’s snoring, dead to the world and the mother who has just walked back into his.

It is many hours later that he awakes, asks for his present and his Sunday dinner, then tears me off a strip for leaving the house in a state of disarray.

The worm had turned. They were OUR pre-holiday breakfast plates; that was OUR discarded towel.

The little chuff had let them lie for five whole days just to prove a point. That lad needs to get out more.