When he left the city, he thought it would be loyal.
So he set off across the plains, over the mountains, and tumbled through the treacherous seas.
He thought the city would wait for him – that the people would keep celebrating his memory, that the dusty streets and buildings would stay as they were, pointed in the same direction, casting a familiar shadow.
He thought the old hill that led to the places of his great fears and torment, and place from which his story began, would stay the same.
And he treasured the city in his mind, for its loyalty and faith. In his mind, the city never changed, it was always the same, with the same cast of characters, the same friends, and shopkeeps, and little children playing in the streets.
In his memory, it was home.
When he returned across the plains, the mountains, and the treacherous seas, he found that the city had completely changed. He found no familiar faces, and new contraptions filled the streets.
A city doesn’t wait.
In confusion he walked to where the old hill had been, which was covered completely in large buildings of terrifying height, formidable now in strangeness, and asked a kid where his old home had been. He described it as he remembered it.
The kid shrugged and ran away, smiling. An old woman tottering by looked at him, squinting.
There was a building that you speak of, she said. It stood where you now stand.
It was strange, the feeling he now felt. Untethered, like he no longer had a home.