This afternoon my wife asked if I could pick up my daughter from her dance class. I had planned just heading home, but since I would be driving right by the dance studio, I thought I'd pick her up. But I had a half-hour to kill first.
I decided to visit a place I love--the library where I used to work.
It was strange parking the car and not using the employee entrance. It was stranger still to enter and not have the responsibilities of shelving books, retrieving holds, or putting away DVDs. I entered the building for the first time since I left months ago. Today was the first time I'd been back.
Everything looked the same, though it seemed busier than I remember Wednesday afternoons to be. Of course, I worked during the summer when kids were out of school. I saw a lot of kids there today. I also saw many of my former co-workers, great people who are still doing a job I loved but was unable to continue to do.
When I left I was sure I'd be back again and again, but it hasn't worked out that way. And if my wife hadn't called and asked if I'd stop and pick up my daughter, I wouldn't have gone in today. Who knows when I would step through those doors? It may have been many more months or even years.
I thought when I went back I'd feel the same as I did when I was an employee, but it wasn't the case. I felt like an outsider, even though I shouldn't have.
Once inside, it felt like home.