So she got up and spent midnights and after with her map. It was the whole of the United States, road and topographic. Fully unfolded, it took up the entire dining-room table, but she didn’t need it fully unfolded. For a while, the middle five pleats had stayed closed, but that left a bumpy mass in the center that sometimes made her color coding awkward. Eventually, she got a scissor and cut them away, carefully laying tape along only the back so that she could use her pens and markers wherever she needed without interference. She was on her second map, in fact, the first having become too messy with notes and arrows and big and bigger Xs.

Penn said, “Come to bed.” Penn said, “Eschew the crazy,” because he thought phrasing it quirkily might make her laugh and soften—while still planting—the suggestion that she was being insane. Penn said, “Madison is perfect. It’s liberal and beautiful. It’s broad-minded with smart, educated citizens and world-class medical facilities.” Penn said, “You can’t control everything. Anywhere you live, there will be some bad people. Anywhere you live, shit will occasionally happen.” But Rosie knew Penn said these things because Penn was a poet and a storyteller and a disciple of the cult of narrative theory, a grown man who still believed in fairy tales and happy endings. For her, diagnosis and treatment were much more clinical propositions. She assessed the infirmity as she always did: initial presentation, physical exam, symptom analysis. She took into account patient history and environmental factors. She developed a treatment plan.

What was clear was that they could not raise this child here. They could not raise these children here. They had to go Away. Madison was open and accepting and tolerant, yes, but tolerance was bullshit. Fuck tolerance. Madison was tolerant, except for when it wasn’t. Madison was tolerant, unless you strayed so much as a mile outside in any direction or invited people from outside in—Chad Perry was from Kenosha, it turned out—and then it didn’t work, did it? Poppy wasn’t something to be tolerated like when you got a cold, and yes it was annoying, and no you weren’t going to die, so buy some tissues and a book about zombies, and get in bed for two days. Head colds should be tolerated. Children should be celebrated. That’s when she took scissors to the middle of country and most of the south as well so that her new map of the United States looked like a foreshortened frowny face, its middle fused, its bottom, except at the very edges, excised. Her mother made an impassioned plea for Phoenix. Her mother sent articles and emails about the Phoenix gay pride festival, about a trans boy in a Phoenix high school who’d been named homecoming king by his peers, about the importance of family and especially grandmothers in kids’ lives, about the weather in February (sunny every day, highs in the 70s), about the ways in which her daughter was putting the mental in judgmental when she suggested that everyone living more than one hundred miles from an ocean was a bigot. Rosie deleted them without reading.

The sky-scraping, difference-celebrating, coast-abutting megacities were tempting with all their cutting-edge medical facilities and pride parades and diversity. But Rosie wasn’t so crazy, at least not yet, as to believe her multitudes could do with that little space. They needed more grass and less concrete, more meandering and less high rising, and even if they had been willing to live in one, they could not afford an apartment for seven on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The leap from tolerant to celebrated turned out to be an expensive one. So she kept looking.

When cajoling optimism didn’t work, Penn switched rallying cries. “We can’t give up and slink away,” he said. “That’s letting the bastards win. We’re stronger than that.”

“They beat her to death,” Rosie answered.

“You have a job you love.”

“He threatened our child with a gun,” his wife replied.

“The kids love it here.”

“In front of our whole family.”

“You can’t leave because of one horrible, drunken fraternity party,” said Penn. “You can’t leave because of one terrible playdate.”

“You can’t stay,” said Rosie, “knowing what happens here.”

“You can’t uproot a whole seven-person family because of the needs of just one of them,” said Penn, and it wasn’t clear whether the “just one” in question referred to Poppy, with his need to be somewhere he could be who he was, or Rosie, with her need to be Away, but that was how Penn lost the argument regardless because of course you could uproot a whole family of seven for the needs of just one of them because that’s what family means.

And so it was that one predawn morning, she found it, the perfect course of treatment, the antiserum for all the Nick Calcuttis in the world and all the Chad Perrys and all the nightmare fraternity parties as well: Seattle. Seattle was so far past tolerant that heterosexual reviewers complained they felt awkward holding hands at some brunch places and were treated rudely by the waitstaff. Seattle had not just therapists and doctors touting transgender expertise but acupuncturists, nutritionists, and yoga studios as well. Would eating more grapefruit and less gluten help Poppy be a celebrated human? Rosie had no idea. Which was why she suddenly felt she needed a transgender nutritionist who did. Seattle had space—mountains and lakes and ocean and beaches, parks with paths through old-growth forests, skiing and scuba and ferries to nearby islands. And there was a job. It wasn’t an ER job, but private practice might be nice for a change now that the kids were all in school and she didn’t need to work nights. She could sleep instead. And she’d be able to because picking Seattle would get rid of her map and her highlighters and all her late-night searches.