Peter’s family has always moved every few years, crisscrossing the globe. But when the traveling stopped, their family began to change and fall apart.
We weren’t just brothers and sisters, we were each others’ best friends. “A domestic army,” our father said. It had to be that way. We never stayed any place long enough to make best friends with anyone else. Our father was a famous neurosurgeon, and every year or so we’d move to a new city, to a new apartment near the hospital where he was teaching. We’ve lived in Tokyo, Rome, Johannesburg, Ghana, Edinburgh, Alaska, and all over Europe. And wherever we went, we took our cats, six of them, one for each member of the family. And I loved it. I loved the way we all walked across the airport terminal, cat carriers in one hand, overnight bag in the other, off to find another exciting adventure, somewhere we’d never been before.
My name’s Peter, and I’m the oldest. Then there’s Emily, Tobias, and Susanna, all of us two years apart. I thought our life was perfect just the way it was. But everything changed when we moved to Boston. My mother was tired of traveling, and she wanted to go to law school. My father had been appointed to a permanent position at the Boston Children’s Hospital. Permanent means forever. No more adventures. No more traveling. I didn’t have a good feeling about it, no matter how many times my parents told me I’d love Boston.
It didn’t take long for me to discover that I didn’t love Boston, I hated Boston. I hated what living there was doing to our family. Everything was different and uncomfortable and just plain wrong. And I couldn’t figure out what to do or how to fix it. But something happened last night, something strange and wonderful and amazing. It made me decide to tell the story of the terrible year we’ve had since we moved to Boston last August. It’s the only way you’ll really understand what happened last night and what it meant to all of us. It all began on that night in our Tokyo apartment when my father announced that we were moving again.