18,000km and 18 years away and it's still too close to home.
I've been to the Arena; watched the Happy Mondays in a fug of dope smoke; been laughed at by kids for leaving The Courteeners before the end.
I've caught trains, trams and buses from Victoria station; shopped, skived and stalked in the surrounding streets.
This is where Rutherford split the atom, where Marx and Engels plotted the end of poverty. It's the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, why the sheets here are called Manchester.
I went to school there, lived there. (I wasn't born there - and that's a big deal.)
I don't want to think of it like this. I want to think about the Duckworths and the Rovers; The Smiths and the Hacienda; Sergio Aguero and Dennis Law.
My wife interrupts. She's been in meetings all day, just heard. "Have you spoken to your mum? She was going to the theatre in Manchester last night."
I hadn't. Bad listener. Bad son. What can I do? I'm on the other side of the world.
I watched planes, bombs and bullets buffet New York, Paris and London. I cared, but not like this. And that makes me ashamed as well as dislocated.
Manchester's been here before. A 1500kg truck bomb detonated by the IRA outside Marks & Spencer one sunny, spring Saturday morning in 1996. I was in bed in Didsbury, 7km away. Any lingering sympathy for the cause died that day. No people did. The Miracle of Manchester, said the Church.
No such luck at the Arena, 600 metres up Corporation St, past the Corn Exchange and the National Football Museum.
I was there in December - Christmas markets, gluwein and giggling.
I'm going to ring my mum.