Whenever the twins ask me where my house is, I have no answer. I run through possible answers: Oregon, where my parents’ house is? New York, where my last apartment was? Buffalo, where my brother and my rabbit live? Seattle, where I grew up? Mm, not quite “yes” to any of them…

My temporary use of the word “home” to describe this house came under question early this week, as I tried to determine how long I could legally stay in the UK. I’d only begun those inquiries when my mom received the sort of news that makes a daughter want to rush home, and home would for once be identified very simply: wherever she is.

“I think the consensus is I can stay for six months,” I told my boss this morning. I thought, Go on, tell her the rest. I swallowed. “But it might be good,” I swallowed again, “If you kept an eye out for a replacement who could start sooner than February.”

Living across an ocean from your family is not easy when your family gets an electric shock. All the hunches I’ve had over the past two months that I’d be back in New York by the end of year? They may come true. Surely the hunches that I wouldn’t be here long enough to bother buying a raincoat look likely to be true. I found so many reasons to justify away those hunches, as fear or unwillingness to accept the present. I think they were just hunches. I think it’s time to go home.

Could I tell the twins more easily today where that is? No, and worse, neither could my mom. But one thing is sure: this news may help answer why she hasn’t had an answer to that question for many months. That knowledge may not comfort her, but it comforts me, as I wait for my mom, my boss, and my heart to answer just two questions. Where do I need to go, and how quickly can I get there?

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