From the amtrak dining car lunch menu: Santa Maria Cheese Enchiladas$6.50Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses rolled up with scallions then topped with tomatillo sauce and served with black beans and Spanish rice. Chapter 1 The April I was thirteen, I went to sleep a good Catholic schoolgirl, and woke up the next morning burning. The transition was like the flip of a coin, and made me as dizzy as an airborne dime. I was sick for days with itdrunk on the new green of globe willow leaves against the slate of a heavy spring sky; feeling the itch down my spine and the sides of my legs from the seams of my clothes; eating gluttonously of every lasagna, every olive, every bowl of cream I could put my hands on. A cat crawled into my lap, and I petted him for hours, a cat I had known all of my life, and I ached with the incredible softness of his long fur, the astonishing sound of a purr. My mother said it was puberty. It would pass. More than twenty-five years later, the great cosmic hand flipped the coin again. I went to bed a woman of the world, and awakened the next morning desperately homesick for the world of the girl I'd left behind. I turned over in my beda futon shoved against the wall of the living room of my Greenwich Village apartmentand remembered, suddenly, what it was like to awaken to complete morning silence. Not a plane or a taxi or a clatter in the street, only the voices of birds or the purr of a cat. I stared at the square of obstructed sky I could see above the curtains and remembered a bowl of sky stretched hard from the yellow, elm-pierced east to the dark jagged blue of mountains to the west. It seemed I could smell sage and rain, dust and onions, lasagna and perfume, all at once, mingling like a siren song. That day, a registered letter came from Passanante, Corsi, & Cerniglia, Attorneys-at-Law, and I opened it to discover that my aunt Sylvia, ninety years old, had passed away and left me her house and all the lands that went with it. It was so precipitous, I knew my grandmother must have been very, very busy lighting candles to every saint on her list for a special intervention. Saint Judeoh, he of hopeless causes. And certainly Magdalena, who would understand fallen women so very well. It would not have surprised me if it had been Sylvia herself who'd brought all that homesickness to me, sitting on my bed in mischievous, ghostly humor, taking care of one last thing before she went on to meet her husband, Antonio. Truth was, though, I had probably known that going home was the only answer. My best friend, Michael, had collapsed on the stairs the week before, unable to manage the steep narrow flights of our building any longer, and I'd acceptedeven if he hadn'tthat he'd be living with us soon. Which, considering I'd blown the engine in my delivery van and didn't have anywhere close to enough money saved to think about a new place, was more than a small hurdle. And as if that weren't enough, the building was sold out from under us to a developer who wanted to put in condos. We had two months to find a new place. I moved my index finger over the embossed name on the letterhead. No choice. When Shane, my seventeen-year-old son, came out of his room, rubbing his chest in an unconscious gesture, I said, "Babe, we're going home." "Home?" I took a breath, waved the letter. "Pueblo." For one long moment, he blinked at me, maybe waiting for me to say, just kidding. When I didn't, he scowled, his dramatic dark eyebrows beetling above the brilliance of his blue eyes. "I'm not going there." "Yeah, kid, you are.RSamuel, Barbara is the author of 'No Place Like Home' with ISBN 9780345460370 and ISBN 0345460375.