It's always a struggle, getting back to work after being away.
You head off, full of expectation, your case neatly packed, through the tedium of airport searches and clanging grey airport terminals with their uncomfortable, functional furniture on which a thousand thousand arses have previously sat and farted; you arrive; you immerse yourself in another land, another climate, another place, another way of behaving that's detached from a world of commuting, or sitting in a bleak, draughty office with just the whirr of the air-conditioning to provide some kind of music; your spirits might soar as you imagine everything you could do when you return home; then you sit at a plane window, overlooking clouds, or tiny villages and roads, or at a train window, watching "someone running up to bowl"; and you imagine the world is full of possibilities.
Away, somewhere else, everything is alien but not frightening; a holiday is a place of comfort and security, but escape, novelty, strangeness that you can paddle in.
You can feel the sea foaming over your bare feet and the sand oozing between your toes; you can see the things you've only seen photographs of, and now you're looking at them with your own eyes.
You can feel the sun on your back, the warmth around, different sounds, music, see the moon in the sky, but somehow it looks different here.
Then, from that world, you return to the ordinary world, the mundane, the familiar. As you return, the possibilities decrease.
You could be going anywhere, then you could be going anywhere in the country you live, then anywhere in your town, then anywhere in your street, then, all of a sudden, nowhere except the place you always end up returning to - the place you forgot about, or remembered, while you were away, but the place that you weren't for so long, and now you are again, and everything returns.
Not just the sense of cosiness or predictability that you might feel comfortable with when you're in that place you call home, but all those feelings too, all those emotions that you managed to escape for a little while, when you were somewhere else, when you were someone else maybe, when everything seemed possible, when you dreamed a little more than usual.
The walls begin to close in. Only a few things are possible. Those possibilities aren't endless after all; they're fairly stiffly limited, and you've got to go back to the same places, and do the same things, where you always go, and you always do.
Sitting in the office. The overly bright strip lighting causing shadows everywhere, bouncing off the piles of papers. Everything as it was. Nothing changed. You've missed nothing. You are not irreplaceable. Things didn't fall apart while you were away. No-one really missed you very much, and nothing really happened - just the same rearrangement of the same set of tasks, just with your assignments spread around other people, who had to work harder because you didn't want to be there. You're not really the lynchpin at all, and you never will be. Because this is you, and you're not really ever going to be anything - not here, not anywhere, probably not in any way you want to be. You're pretty much expendable, and that's never going to change. Keep your head down and just keep going. It's not going to change, any time soon, or any time at all, and there's nothing you can do about it. You're lucky to have something to do at all, even if you are a drone. Don't pity yourself. Just accept it, and get on with it. There's nothing else to do.
Back to work, then. Back to work. The unchanging series of things to do, slightly different but not different enough each and every day. The same tedium. The same slow realisation, spread across a thousand hours or more, that this is it, and this is all there ever might be, or will be.
But at least you got away. Escaped for a while. Tasted something else. Had a glimpse. Work isn't so bad, if it brings you glimpses. Sometimes that's all there is, and maybe it's foolish to imagine there might be more. Why imagine? Just make the most of what there is, and get on with it. Back to work, back to work. It's not so bad. Time moves along, and you can grab your car keys and your coat, and get out of there. And then begin it all again tomorrow, waiting for another day to pass by, like water.