Tom hurried me off into the room to change, while he did the same in the bathroom. "What should I wear?" I shouted through the door.
He opened the door and peaked out, "Something comfortable."
I laughed, "So, a t-shirt and shorts aught to do it?"
He smiled, nodded, and then shut the door, leaving me once again in silence to ponder what exactly he had planned. Even after 15 minutes, I still couldn't think of a single guess as to where Tom was planning to take me, but he stopped my thoughts by opening the door and coming back into the room.
Tom looked great, in a plain green t-shirt and a pair of dark jeans. I had never seen someone who could look so spectacular wearing something as ordinary as a t-shirt. It made me feel inadequate in my grey v-neck and old blue jeans.
Tom looked at me thoughtfully. "What?" I asked, suddenly extremely self conscious.
"Nothing, you just...you look great."
I raised my eyebrows suspiciously, waiting for the punchline, but he said no more and walked out the door. I followed him, completely confused.
As I descended the stairs, Tom's mother and sisters were watching from the kitchen table. I looked at them, silently asking for an explanation as to what was going on, but they shrugged, evidently as clueless as I was. Tom held the door open and led me out to the car with a silly grin on his face.
A few minutes after we set out, I could handle my curiosity no longer. "Alright, where are we going Tom?"
He just kept grinning and shook his head, "Oh no, this is a surprise, remember? If I told you, it would defeat the point."
"Just one little hint," I pressed.
"Pleeeeaaassseee?" I begged. Instead of answering, he brought his hand to his lips and mimed zipping them closed. I huffed, defeated, and sank down in my seat.
Tom was silent for a few minutes, before asking, "Are you looking forward to going back to school?" I could tell he had been trying to think of some way to change the subject.
"Kind of. I mean, I miss my dorm and the familiarity of my schedule, but it's so beautiful here, I could definitely stay for a while longer." As I said this, I stared out the window at the rolling hills that I had become accustomed to during our stay. It was nothing like Cambridge, with its rows of little shops everywhere. There was a peace about this place that was like nothing I had ever experienced.
Tom smiled wistfully, eyes scanning the landscape as well, "I know what you mean, I miss it out here. The city is home too, but these past few weeks have been a reminder of how nice it is to get away and come home."
I was happy to see him so content, it was a side of Tom that was always there, but out here, it shined. "It's crazy how, no matter how far away you go from home, it will always be waiting to fill you with memories whenever you come back."
He smiled. "Do you miss America?"
"Of course I miss it," I replied, "My family is there, along with everything I had ever known before I came here. But you have to know that I wouldn't change my decision to come here for anything." I smiled at him and he beamed back.
We entered the town a few minutes later and I asked, "So how are you liking being back? I feel bad that all you've done is take me around."
Tom scoffed, shrugging off the insinuation that I was being a nuisance, "I love it here, it holds so many memories for me. Take that shop for instance," he pointed to a bookshop just ahead off to the left, "I used to go there all the time, and that pub was were my rugby mates and I used to go after practices and games. It's such a small town that I have an experience tied to every building here, and I love getting to immerse myself in that."