I’m still dumbfounded by my “adventure” in Texas. It seems like someone cut out someone else’s life and pasted it back into the middle of mine. First of all, I hadn’t lived in Texas since I was little, and where my sister lived wasn’t anywhere close to that even. They lived in a dreadful sounding place called “Saginaw”. There was nothing for me there, at least, that I knew of. Even though I was very familiar with Texas, actually living there again was culture shock: no beach, no coffee houses, no city-life or even a village-square. I was on my $400 cell phone every night, not just to talk to my boyfriend, but to feel connected to home and everything that I understood.
Besides the discomfort of feeling drastically out of place, my brother-in-law was an ass. I was extremely tentative about moving in with my sister and her three kids, but it was entirely because of my then-brother-in-law. For one, he was a racist with some pretty wild theories. I will say nothing more on the subject. Second of all, he had a scary temper that made the entire home feel like it was oppressed by the constant threat of a hurricane. The floor of their home was made up of eggshells that were not to be crunched without severe repercussions. Third, he persistently joked around at the entire family’s expense: some were fat, some were stupid, some were fat and stupid, some were the secondary class “Woman”, and some (me) were just like Juanita (my mom; apparently a horrible insult in his opinion.) Normally, mentioning him wouldn’t be worth my time, but I suppose I have to credit him for being a link in the chain of everything that ensued.
After two weeks at my sister’s, I woke up to the classifieds section of the newspaper lying on my face with several apartments highlighted. Subtle, he was not. I had just gotten a job at a large ministry on the grave-yard shift janitor crew and there was NO WAY I was ready to afford my own apartment, especially since I still didn’t even know what I was doing in that town. It’s one thing to leave your life behind, move in temporarily with someone you know and try to figure things out. It’s entirely different to sign a lease when you have no idea if you plan to stay or what you’ll be doing in the months ahead. You don’t move 1,500 miles away from home to be a janitor (I have great respect for the field, but it’s just not one that requires a lot of major relocation). But I took the hint and packed my bags. I wasn’t going to deal with him and I wasn’t about to stay where I wasn’t wanted. I was gone before anyone got home. My plan? To sleep on one of the couches of the many offices I cleaned. It wasn’t a great plan, but I was starting to wonder if the whole move-to-Texas-thing was all that great of a plan itself. What was sleeping on an office couch by this point?
Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that. The janitorial crew gathered for the nightly assignments and quick prayer (it was a ministry after all, and even janitors can be ministers, right?). I asked them to pray about my living situation and briefly filled them in on my dilemma. I think I even told them I was planning on sleeping at work. One quiet girl a few years older than me found me later that evening. Her name was Debra and I barely knew her, but she said I could come and stay with her until I got on my feet, so long as I was okay with living with an infant. I figured living with an infant would be a step up in maturity of my previous roommate, so I accepted. I don’t know where Debra is today, but if you ever read this, THANKYOU! You will just never know…