After all my homesickness, I am back in the Garden State. Missing cat and boyfriend and garden and friends, sad about the Tuscaloosa and Aurora shootings, glad to be sitting at the kitchen table where I grew up. Predictably, I arrived home to an empty house, but still. Home. A safe place in a country where everywhere else is starting to feel unsafe. I went to a Jewish day school during the Second Intifada, heard every day about who killed who, how many buses blew up in Jerusalem, how many people, how many children, blame in every direction, and these past couple of days feel almost like the same kind of flurry. Tomorrow is my mother's 60th birthday party. She didn't put her name on either of the cakes, because she can't eat them. Typical.