I did not expect how much being back in Dallas would feel like coming home. Four months isn’t that long, but a lot has happened since I moved at the end of June! I was unprepared for the massive nostalgia of being back. I could drive on auto-pilot, I had my go-to bank to make some fundraising check deposits, and my library card still worked when I needed to waste a little extra time. This is my home. It’s going to be too short of a stay, I can already tell.
At 6:00 I pulled into the driveway behind Sanjay and followed him inside the house. Ketan greeted me with a massive smile and a hug, and I said, “It’s weird how not-weird this feels!” Anju and Chrisette came home, and my Dallas family/bosses was complete! Once again, it felt like nothing had changed.
“You’re going to be so jealous,” I bragged to Anju and Ketan. “I went to a Harry Potter festival – the whole town participated and it was amazing! Want to see pictures?”
“Yes!” they cried, and we all piled on the couch so I could relive my roadtrip with them.
Some things HAVE changed, like how they love capoeira now, and they dropped basketball and dance in order to take painting classes. Ketan is also taking SAT prep classes even though he is twelve.
“Not like, the real SAT?” I insisted.
“Yeah, I’m taking the actual test in January. If I get an 1800 I can go to special summer classes at Johns Hopkins.”
OH, and Anju was so excited to tell me she had read Cinder, and she’d saved the discussion questions at the end so we could go over them together. We went through all twelve questions, covering topics like
“What does it mean to be human? Is it primarily physiological? Cultural? Emotional? What do you think could have led to cyborgs being perceived as less than human in Cinder’s world? What about Lunars, who evolved from a human colony? What real-world parallels can you draw between the discrimination against cyborgs and Lunars to that of race, disability, and class?”
I’m not kidding. She’s nine, and was super into discussing the sociological implications and symbolism in children’s literature.
THESE KIDS. They’re geniuses.
Of course, then they wanted to show me the “Watch me whip, watch me nae nae” dance, so. They’re also still ridiculous.
Christette’s dad and Auntie Caleen came over for a delicious Sanjay-cooked dinner. They’ve just come back from Athens and Istanbul, and I made adult conversation until Ketan sidetracked me with “Who would be on your superpower team if superpowers included magic?”
After dinner, the kids and I went upstairs to watch Back to the Future II, since today is the day that Marty McFly travels to (October 21, 2015). We laughed at how we don’t have horrible fashion or hoverboards, and I thought for the thousandth time how weird it is that I used to be paid to hang out with these awesome individuals.
When the movie ended and I had wrestled away from their clutches, I walked them to their rooms to get ready for bed. Ketan had a brand new copy of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Rick Riordan’s newest book) on his bedside table.
“Are you taking this on your trip?” I asked him.
“No. You can read it while we’re gone if you want.”
“Oh, I couldn’t….You’re really not going to take it?”
“OKAY IT’S MINE NOW.”
I’m so glad the last four months have not made anything weird between the kids and me. We fell right back into our rhythm, and I love them still so much.
It’s going to be excruciating to leave Dallas again.