Almost a year after my cancer and I reached an agreement, negotiations broke down for my uncle. At the service that followed, one of his dearest friends told a story about the summer when my uncle fell in love with his wife, Alice. From Boston, he hitchhiked the three thousand miles to California, and made his way to Catalina Island. He and his buddy hiked twelve miles overland to a remote beach only accessible by foot or by water. At the end of this beach was a pay phone. My uncle picked up that phone and called Alice, back in Boston.
I turned twenty one in Budapest. Four thousand miles from home, I was miserable; depressed, drunk, and surrounded by people who neither understood nor loved me. My dad sent me an email. "When I turned twenty one, I bought an ancient Ford. I still have the Ford, and I still have you, although we were not to become acquainted for a few more years. Life develops a strange kind of symmetry when your children turn the age you think you still are. Happy Birthday."
Sometimes you call home; sometimes home calls you.