Lord Jesus, I gotta tell Y'all, it has been almost a month of completely unexpected surprises. Some charming, some expensive, and some I would have preferred not to have experienced. But, I would choose a life that’s brimming with possibilities over one that’s empty and predictable because that’s a life worth writing about!
Let’s start with some recent good news. The Professor received a promotion! He is a high school special education teacher, well, I should say he was a high school special education teacher. As of today, he is now the Specialist over the special education department at another high school! I’m so proud of him. His brain is beautiful, his heart is huge, and his talent is endless. I’m a very proud lady.
In addition to his new job, we also moved into a new home! We have decided to call it The Bel Air, as it has particular Californian characteristics. Pictures will come soon! Anyone who has moved knows how stressful moving can be! But it was totally worth it! The Bel Air is a three-bedroom, one-story bungalow in Indianapolis’ Woodruff Place. It’s a whimsically green neighborhood amidst a city of concrete. Fountains and trees that date back to the 1800’s line the streets while glowing lamp posts light the way. I’ve seen it in all four seasons, and I love it here. But, moving here was an absolutely dreadful amount of work. My roommate at the time received a job offer in Texas and needed to make a fast exodus, which meant that I needed to move out too! So, I packed up all my belongings and moved them into a storage unit over the course of two days. On day three, we left for Florida.
It was a truly marvelous time! It was the first time my entire family has ever truly embraced someone that I loved. I actually found myself provoking a fight on the first day because I was so used to chaos! I was curiously uncomfortable in the peace, something that I worked through and wrestled with on a long walk in the sand. Yet, despite myself, it was a genuinely joyful week. Most notably, was being able to see my Grandmother, Nana. After I came out as gay, I was quite estranged from my family. Nana was the one who stayed in touch. She would meet me for lunch, give me money or groceries, and would always remind me that I was loved.
Nana’s real name is Diana. She’s my father’s mother and was a shining example of womanly strength. Her humble example, alongside my mother’s fierce resiliency, shaped me into the person I am today. Nana is an amazing human, with more love in her little finger than some have in their whole being. When my grandfather passed away she moved into our house. I was ten years old at the time and I absolutely loved having her live with us. She was the quintessential definition of a grandmother.
We learned last year that she has Dementia and Alzheimer’s and in the recent weeks she's also been diagnosed with late-stage Parkinson's disease. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw her, or whether she’d recognize me. For the most part, she didn’t. However, there were a few moments when we’d make eye contact and she’d smile. I know that she remembered me in those moments. It was the same look she’d give me when she saw me approaching the table for our lunches. I’m so sad that she’s sick. I fear a death like this; to lose myself in the end and not be able to feel the satisfaction of a full life remembered.
When we returned from our vacation I was a swarm of emotions. I felt gratitude and relief that my family had given The Professor a chance. I felt the heavy knock of grief when I thought about Nana. And, for reasons I will disclose VERY soon (be on the lookout for my next blog post! “The Art of Taking Leaps”), I felt extremely nervous. Luckily, I had the move to distract me!
The week after our return home was spent packing The Professor’s flat and attempting to get work done on a new story I’m writing about a bombshell assassin named Angelina Lovelace. (More on that to come, too!) With the help of my brother, we moved into our home on a Sunday, and on Monday our new school year started!
Now, I’m sure my students were watching the calendar tick by as July rolled to a close, but no one savors the last remaining days and hours of summer break like teachers. Returning to school was like receiving a bucket of ice water over one’s head. And yet, it was time! It only took one day to feel re-acclimated, and let me tell you, I think it’s going to be a good year! However, The Professor’s school didn’t begin with the same optimism. No, no, no, quite the opposite, actually.
It was a Thursday, I was at work, teaching technology to Kindergarteners when I received a text telling me that The Professor’s school was in the middle of a riot and he had been hurt. Riot? Hurt? Two words that I never want to see in a text that includes my love’s name. The library is directly beside my classroom and I dashed next door to ask for coverage in my class. I went to the office to tell them of the situation and, with their support and concern, I rushed off to find The Professor.
Indianapolis recently closed seven high schools. This means that all the displaced students are now sharing school colors with former rivals. And this means war, apparently. A fight which began between two students quickly became a three-hundred-person riot. Close to eighty police cars were dispatched. The streets surrounding the campus were closed. The men in uniforms faced an angry mob of unruly teenagers with weapons that shot pepper spray capsules indiscriminately across the crowd. The Professor had rushed into the madness to help break-up the fights. Taking hits in his stomach, back, and head, he then turned and saw the officers charging forward. Suddenly, he couldn’t see. We spent the evening cuddled on the couch attending to his eyes, and feeling grateful that he hadn’t been more significantly injured. Naturally, we decided to go to bed early. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be getting much sleep.
At 2:30am, I awoke to my car alarm sounding. I found my glasses and threw open the door. I ran across the yard and discovered that someone had broken through my back window. I looked through the shattered glass to where my backpack should have been and found that it was, in fact, not there. In the haste of finding The Professor, I had forgotten to bring my backpack inside. Now, my work laptop, my personal Macbook, my external hard drive, and most importantly, my journal, were all gone. Yeah.
I called the police, but let’s be honest. In the age of mass shootings, gang violence, and a wealth gap that brings out the worst in people of all demographics, a few missing laptops, and a (priceless) journal aren’t going to register on their list of priorities. My urgency was not their emergency. I needed to find my laptop myself. Thankfully, there’s an app for that! If you have Apple devices, like iPhones or MacBook Pros, then you can use an app called “Find iPhone” to track them down! It uses your Apple ID and GPS tracking to keep a lock on where your electronics are located. I was sitting in a Safelite auto-glass store waiting for my broken window to be repaired when the thief finally turned my laptop on! This sent a glorious alert to my phone. It also sent an address.
Ironically, while waiting for my car, I was sitting beside a police officer whose car windshield had been bashed by students at the riot. I asked his advice about the robbery, and he was frank. He said that I could either wait until my case was assigned a detective (which would take days) or I could follow the signal from my MacBook while I still had it. So, with a new window in place, I picked up The Professor and we headed off to our first stakeout!
We found that the GPS signal was landing on the road between three houses. We parked at a distance and watched over a period of about an hour as people wondered between the three houses interchangeably. We witnessed four cars quickly park in front of the smallest of the three, and after only a few minutes, they would leave. Obviously, they weren’t selling Tupperware or sharing the Word of the Lord with these people. At this point, we decided to call the police again. We told them that there was a crime in progress, that I had been robbed, and that we had tracked the thief—and my laptop—to our current location. When the two officers arrived, we briefed them on what we had witnessed and they set about to investigate. Half an hour later, they drove back up and told us to follow them. We drove around the corner and crossed the next big road before pulling over. There, clutched in their hands, was my personal Macbook, the charger, and my external hard drive! I couldn’t believe it! Now, a pessimist would say that the true miracle would have been if my car hadn’t been broken into, to begin with. I’m not a pessimist. So, I say that rain is inevitable. You simply must invest in an umbrella. I’ll take any miracle I can get in this world, especially miracles of redemption.
Since then, we’ve been trying to be completely uneventful. It’s been school, home, write, and sleep for about two weeks. However, I am finally catching up on my writing! She’s inspired Y'all! And I am getting very close to making an exciting series of announcements that will make all the hard work and dreaming completely worth it! Thank you for your patience with the release of my books. I wouldn’t delay this dream for one second if I didn’t believe it would be worth it!
I hope that this finds you feeling brave. I hope that, at this very moment, you feel loved. I hope that you can see the silver-lining from under your umbrella. Perhaps you'll join me in a puddle-jumping dance. Perhaps we can find joy in our valleys. Above all, I hope that you’re living a life worth writing about.