Nostalgia, I reflected, was a strange thing indeed. There were a lot of things I missed about my old life, since I moved away. But I had thought it was only the people, and the things I did with those people. It seemed that I was wrong.

As I stared out of the window at the docks that glittered beside the train tracks; saw the familiar shapes of ships and cranes and the old flour mill, nostalgia washed over me. More than that – homesickness.

It was only three years that I had lived in that city, and it was only four months since those years had come to an end. They had, however, been the most formative years of my life. I had changed so much over that time. Friends gained and lost, loves and obsessions created and destroyed, costume parties and late breakfasts, days spent in lectures and nights spent gaming. All of this against the steel-grey skies and the silhouette of the old flour mill.

I was no longer the man I was when I first arrived in that city, but more worrying to me was the thought that I might not even be the same man that I was when I left.

The Hallowe’en party, that beginning of each year, that first real event that cemented in our hearts the hopes of the year to come.

But that time, most of us had travelled far to be at the party. It still symbolised hope for us, but perhaps less intensely. There is and will always be hope for our futures, but the lives we lead together would perhaps grow less intense with our increasing distance.

Still, Hallowe’en came and went. We walked along the roads we used to walk years ago, and we walked across the campus that was once the centre of our lives. I had trouble walking.

Even the pub that had become symbolic of the end of celebrations whilst we all lived there was used that way again. Lunch, card games across the table, a lazy Sunday afternoon that blended into a lazy Sunday evening, until the end.

I left my home to return to – what? My house, my current place of residence, but not the place that felt like home.

No, as I waved goodbye to the ships and the cranes and the old flour mill, I left my home once more. It’s a memory that I can visit, but it is not a memory of home that I can live again.