the parking lot is empty. there can not be more than 30 or 40 of us left here, on campus. where has everyone else gone, you ask? well home, of course. but i am home as well you see. i was just texting my sister about the views that were coming into her eyesight as her bus drove in our hometown and i texted back to her: “coming home is the best feeling in the world.” and as i typed those words on the shrunken keyboard of my phone all of the times i have come home rolled through my head. the most recent came first of course and the most vibrant. and that most recent time was not when I landed in Madison after spending 7 weeks away from Wisconsin. No, it was when the cold shuttle, full of the last 15 of us to come back for the year, turned off the highway. I saw the trailer park and the other buildings that I don’t know the name of but that i have driven passed too many times. we turned onto Austin, passed the Taco Bell and KFC combo. I saw the first Cottey sign. We drove past the Nevada Inn, past the gas station, past McDonald’s. I looked to my right and I could see down the street to the square. We drove past Hardee’s and Ellen and Katie’s church, past the houses and then there it was: Cottey. I saw the signs first, the two of them one of each side of the street, too big to climb. The I saw Main hall and then RBAC. Reeves came into view next and then PEO and the chapel and Robbie all at once. We turned into the chapel drive, something else I have done more times than I can count. I couldn’t get off the bus fast enough. I felt like I was going to vomit, throw up all that I had consumed in the last month. My heart was racing so fast, my palms were sweaty. I would have thought I was nervous, rather than so excited and happy I could hardly breath. I jumped off that bus and it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. All I heard was screams. I don’t remember the moments that followed, the words that were said. All I remember is that it is a truly wonderful feeling to come home and an even better one to be there.