They know us, now. He smiles and hands me a card key before I can ask for it. He’s in room 108, he says, and I thank him and we carry our bags down the short hall to my husband’s home away from home.

He has left it like he always leaves it. Towel on back of bathroom door, black travel bag on bathroom counter, curtain closed, bible on bedside table, reading glasses on bible, yellow traveling bag in closet. Tidy and organized. And in we come with a rush of boys and shoes kicked off and bags dropped and the channel changed, from his commercial-free classic movie channel to the blaring, tedious cartoon channel. Only one hour of this, I say, and I retreat to the Business Room where I hammer out words on the clunkiest keyboard I have used since I was in college.

And I feel at home. Because we are here and he will be home in a few hours and we will talk and he will nuzzle his nose in my neck and tell me I smell good and he might take the boys to a movie. And I’ll walk down the hall to the desk with a box of pizza pops, and the guy with the beard will smile and unlock the breakfast room and I’ll microwave supper for my family and the guy with the beard and I will  chat about the heat and his family and such.

And we will swim and waterslide and argue over whether to watch discovery channel or the family channel or one of those dance shows, and two boys will fall asleep on the floor and one will toss and turn in the big bed by himself and my husband and I will smile at each other.

Family makes it a home. Love makes the home. Even if it is a hotel room.