Memory is something we all trust full heartedly but what if our memories contradicte all other people who do we trust then?

The exhaust fumes of the bakery were a delight to a ten year old me. They were the unbroken promise of the yeast for warm fresh bread and a reminder of mornings spent helping bob move trays from the oven. Exsertus, my hometown wasn’t just a place it was a living breathing organism, home to 200 souls. Each house held a familiar face, each street a shared memory. We were a community, more closer than a family. I was found of my memories from Exsertus which is why a bolt of guilt ran through when I realized it has been almost 3 years since I’d set foot there to visit. No calls, no text, not even a Christmas card which my mom always loved to make. I only came to realize when my coworker asked me where I was from and instead of an answer all he got was a silence that stretched into an abyss. Driven by a sudden sense of urge, I secured a two week leave, my boss wasn’t willing at first of course but a tiny white lie about a sick relative did the trick.I decided not to call rather I am going to surprise just imaging my sister’s face, lily’s face gave me chills how much she had grown? How did I let this much time slip away? So disconnected from the place that nurtured me work wasn’t particularly demanding so why, maybe a weird glitch in my brain whatever it seemed fixed now. No use lamenting about the past now I must start packing.I told my coworkers about my future absence, they buzzed me well wishes and soon I was throwing clothes for myself some books for my sister, a shirt for my dad and a dress for my mother. As soon as I was done packing I hoped on my computer and typed “Exsertus” on the search bar, nothing showed up. Absolutely it was a small town so a not having a digital footprint didn’t seem strange. I decided I will go to the bus station tomorrow and I will get on the bus I find there. By next morning I was standing in a line to buy a ticket I stood there for what felt like 60 minutes but was probably just 15. I was running out of patience when it was finally my turn. I stepped up to the booth where inside an old woman who without even a glance asked “where?” ”Exsertus” I stammered, the word unfamiliar to my tongue. The woman typed a few things on her keyboard before looking up at me “where did you say?” she asked “Exsertus” I replied for a few moments she didn’t say anything just stared at me with blank eyes. “We don’t have a bus there” she rasped. But then did something odd She shuffled something around and pulled out a worn out map. “Follow this” she muttered pushing it against me, before I could say anything she barked “next!” I took the map out of her hand and moved out of the line I had so many questions like why isn’t there a bus? And would she have a map marked to exactly where I needed to go? It is all so strange. Luckily I still had my car parked nearby so migrated into it.I pulled the map out, it felt like unsolvable puzzle there was a red line which I guess I showed follow to town but no matter how much I tried I couldn’t find where I was on the map. In a fit of frustration and rebellion frustration I threw the map into the passenger seat and pulled out my phone and typed “Exsertus” on Google maps and it displayed a bustling city in Greece? I tried again but this time I mentioned my current location and it was still the same thing defeated I went back to the old map. With the help of my phone I located myself on the map and started following the red line.The red line was an enigma, it went in nonsensical directions, I wasn’t even sure where I was anymore and I started thinking that this was some kind of a joke maybe the lady was having a laugh and decided to prank me. But even If that was true I don’t have any choice but to follow this map, because apparently my town doesn’t exist. After about an hour drive I reached my town I actually reached my town in an hour, if it was this close why didn’t I know that? Why couldn’t I remember?I stopped my car at the entrance to the town where a familiar sign that read “welcome to Exsertus “stood tall. After some contemplation I drove my car into town. As I drove around I noticed something the once busy town is deafeningly quite there was no person in sight no noisy neighbors, no kids shouting and playing with each other.After 20 minute or so I found my home relief washed over as I realized that my memories of Exsertus were still clear in my head, I at least had that going for me. My house hasn’t changed a bit but something felt weirdly different but I couldn’t put my finger on it; the house were my best friend Kyle once lived was old abandon house now, did Kyle move out? Whatever I will ask mom later.As I took the steps in to knock on my door and reunite with my family my heart beat grew faster. When I finally knocked on the door I felt a little dizzy in my stomach butterflies perhaps? Who wouldn’t get some while waiting for the door to the house you haven’t been in for 3 years to open? I didn’t have to wait long because on my second knock the door flung open to revel my sister who is almost as tall as me now. As soon as she saw me she jumped on me to hug me. I almost fell and just barely managed to carry her. She screamed “andrewwwww” after I gently let her down I reunited with parents who were standing behind her a little older but with the same warmth in their eyes, we laughed, we cried and I finally found the family I forgot to miss. 

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