The sky is grey. It glows. The color is from dust and humidity capturing the light of the sun and scattering it. There is a glare to everything, and it seems to be monochrome. The air feels like an oven door was left open. But it’s humid, too. Some say that it feels like the inside of an armpit.

It can be 10 o’clock at night and the temperature may still be in the high eighties (Fahrenheit). The humidity here traps the heat, even overnight, not like in a real desert. When the sun is long gone, the clouds are purple, except for the ones closer to downtown, where they are orange.

I used to walk to school every day: throughout elementary, two years of middle school, and throughout high school. I recognize the change in season, and when the humidity/temperature combo is most like what one would find on Halloween or Easter. I am familiar with the buzzing of cicadas that I imagine would be intimidating to a tourist, and the grackles here hang out in impressive numbers to rival the film “Crows”. There’s a lot of things that I take for granted here because I was not designed to thrive in temperatures outside of the 50-70 range, much less over 100 degrees.

Just before the papers were served to us, the family was planning on moving to Ohio. Edward raved to me about what I called “real clouds” in Ohio, and about the farmland, how good the crops were, how pleasant the temperatures and the weather. He compared it to Oregon, which I was familiar with. During the jury trial, the petitioners made it a point to emphasize that I wanted to move. I don’t know if they were trying to point out to the bench that I was disloyal to this town, or something to that effect. They told the judge that there was a risk that we would take the Girls and run out of town with them. He scoffed.

This ineffective lawsuit has anchored us, however, and I’ve been forced to grow roots here. Fortunately, I have been able to make friends outside of the connections I previously had through my mother. There is a community that plays tabletop games, and this community has been as accepting of our odd family as the LGBTQ community. The businesses and our charity will be able to synergize. I’ve also befriended people from the “Poly” community, and people who knit and crochet. I’ve befriended writers. I finally have a careful selection of people that I am comfortable with and can be myself around.

The answer to many of my prayers has come in one response. How ridiculous it feels to say that it’s Pokémon. But here is my motivation to actually spend my hour of free time before my shift working on my physique. Here is the instant gratification and sense of accomplishment that checks depression. Here is a shared interest between Bailey and me, to help us understand each other and bond. Here is a sense of community like what my charity worked to instill in the world. I read through my Facebook feed and see people reaching out to others to help, sharing suggestions on how to make the world less dark and fulfill the roles of noble characters we grew to respect and admire.

I got started on it when my husband showed me the app he’d downloaded on the third day of it being out. “They even have certain types of Pokémon spawn in certain places. They decided we live in a desert.” There are five biomes in this state, and I happen to live in the desert.

I step out now into the desert and try to imagine that someday, when I will be able to travel for leisure, I will meet someone who envies me for my desert Pokémon, and I will show off to them the number of kilometers that I’ve walked in this fiendish heat. By the way, why does it measure distance by kilometers but describes Flareon’s body temperature as 1650 degrees Fahrenheit? Other things that I have to show for my ‘gaming’ is the return of my abs, which I’ve been missing since before my pregnancy two years ago, and my tan I’ve been without since I first acquired it in 2012. Playing this game has helped me to come to terms with being here. I can learn about the neat things that are around me, and learn about the layout of the landmarks I visit most and others in proximity. I can walk outside and not appear to be as suspicious as I would have before my peers decided they had to go outside and catch ‘em all. I have a reason to talk to a majority of my colleagues that I had no reason to talk to before. I might even be willing to claim this place as my hometown.

Update Overdue, 2

I’ve missed you so, dear reader!

I suppose I’ve been going through an unhealthy bout where I felt that I had nothing good enough to say. Only one thing has changed since I last wrote, and that is the commencement of the Girls’ visit home. It upsets me that they have to ‘visit’ home, and so I delayed putting it into words. I wonder if my behavior is cowardly, since I refuse to dwell on things that upset me, but it seems somewhat healthy as I can’t change them. I don’t know what I would do if I let myself actually react to what’s going on, so like in a dream I just roll with it. I don’t know if I’m communicating this clearly now, but I’ve actually been trying to really capture it in words for a few years.

I’m reminded by their visit that I’m not the parent I wish I could be, but I have seen improvement in myself. I credit that to having the opportunity to spend one on one time with Guinevere and help her grow. She’s taught me a lot about children in general, as only children can do.

Another thing that has changed is that I’ve actually considered talking to my mother again. Genuinely considered it. Almost sent a text in the middle of the night, except I was too tired to remember where I left my phone and too groggy to look for it, which told me it was a bad idea to make any communications with anyone with my mentality that fuzzy.

When day came, I went on a walk and considered how I would start communications again. I’ve wondered how I would address my sister, also. She hasn’t said much to me, before or after the trial, except a sappy poem. (Though having a baby has made me more emotional, it has not made me more sentimental.) Thinking about it, I drew a blank.

And of course when I think of my mother, I think of how she trusted Chris so much to confide in him about her suspicions of my relationship, and how he advised her to inform my father (who’s in jail after that event), and how he showed up to the trial. Though he didn’t testify, the attorney referenced things that I’d discussed with Chris and the times that I went out with him with the intention of maintaining a friendship with him. The things done or said with him were used as ammunition to drive my family apart.

So while I pondered this on my walk, I wondered if I should take advantage of being listened to while I had her attention and explaining to my mother where she went wrong and all the ways I’d been betrayed by her and Chris, to justify my mistrust in her that she may not be able to earn back, to explain to her how she was wrong and became the evil she wanted to protect me from. I imagined telling her that I forgave her for making me feel so inept when I was growing up, and the problems that it had caused me in my relationship and how I struggle as a parent because of it.

It angered me so much to think on this, I said to myself, “screw it. I’m clearly not ready yet.”

According to Corinthians 13:5, Love “does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I still need to work on forgiving my mother before I try to talk to her, and before I can talk to her, I need to create boundaries. It should be easy for her to understand that I don’t want to be judged when I talk to her, as that is what her mother did on visits and why she stopped talking to her. To avoid her falling into that habit again, I refuse to discuss my finances or my possessions. I want to be able to talk about my family, but based off of where we left off, I don’t know how to reach that place. It was Ed’s idea that I create boundaries for when I reestablish communications with her (he supports me talking to her again, though he says himself that he understands why I wouldn’t want to). Bailey doesn’t understand my reluctance. “You just talk to her,” she advised. As bitter as I became just thinking about it, I feel like that is a careless way to start.

Dear reader, if you have any advice for me on this matter, I will honestly consider it. In the meantime, I am working on healing and cherishing the time that my Girls are here. Regularly we have no idea what we’re doing for holidays until the very last minute, in which case we do something spontaneous and memorable, so those are my ‘plans’ for the day. Happy holiday!