No one was happier this week than my mum. She was back in Scotland with her two kids. She didn’t expect for me to be here—I even told her, after the crisis with Kwon but before Tanya left, that I wouldn’t be returning to either Canada or to Scotland for the holidays. I was expecting to surprise her in Ottawa, where I had gone directly from Seoul. Because I knew she had already spent the Christmas holidays with Siobhan and Bryan, in Edinburgh, I expected her to be in her Sandy Hill home. Little did I realize the damage inflicted by the ice storm that struck Eastern Ontario and extended all the way to Montreal. After a few days without power, Mum had decided to seek refuge in Edinburgh. Though the storm had blown over before I touched down at the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, evidence of its presence was apparent in the aftermath of broken trees throughout the city. The red maple on my front lawn was missing some of its larger, older branches, luckily missing my house. My mother’s tree, having been planted much longer and had grown to a ripe-old age, hadn’t fared as well. Most of the main structure had given way under the thick coating of ice and had fallen onto the street, taking three cars with it. When I arrived at the Blackburn Avenue home to surprise my mother, city crews were carving up the remainder of the old tree. It was then that I learned that Mum was not at home, but in Edinburgh.
“Can I come in?” I asked. “It’s cold, dark, and I’m wet from this rain.”
We retired to the kitchen for tea, to help steady Mum’s nerves. She was speechless, could only look at me, stroke my cheek, and whisper “My Roland,” over and over again.
I was home.