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It was named after a flower, but I simply called it “The Gypsy Cottage” (and promptly fell of the plateau of political).

It was, what? Dome-shaped? Octagonal? Hexagonal? Chatter below and if you’re in the attic above, you’re sure to think there’s a ghost hovering just off the balcony. It loved messing with sound and tripping our minds. Its vaulted view messed with my age as well, and I tossed one paper plane after another into the roasting summer ether with the siblings.

In the pond was some rare form of turtle. But I mostly just remember the tiny leeches I picked out of the youngest’s ankles. There were gardens and flowers, but I don’t remember their smell. I just remember the scent of lavender soap for our hands and how late I stayed up at night, writing.

In the hot evenings I’d chill in the lower rooms, sprawled out in my layered camis and shoddy shorts. I’d mess with my fiddle a bit. But mostly I’d nap like a cat or wander around lazily, exploring the rooms and artwork hung on the walls. The next morning I’d drive us into music camp, muddling through the fiddle lessons, focusing on the instructor’s Scottish brogue, and hoping to pick up some good Cape Breton dancing in a latter class.

It began with a long car ride. Six hours, or so. They couldn’t believe I kept up in my van. I shrug. I was honed on city driving from age sixteen, driving up to my dance teacher’s house to prep for my teaching exam. Then there was the ferry ride. And the mountains rising steeply, thick with evergreens. If I hadn’t known better, I would have said we were up in Alaska, not Canada.

It ended with growing up and moving on. This is my way of returning. This is my time travel.