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.