Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Plans in Motion (3)
We were blissfully unaware of what was about to happen, all nightmares aside. As I said in my previous installment, we were filled with hope as life began to turn our way.
We were pretty poor at that point. Living in low-income housing. Medicaid. Food stamps. WIC. Living on a half-time salary from the school district. But our bills were paid. Our children were developing well into bright young lady and gentlemen. Kyle and I slept together every night in an exhausted wonder, with our daughter in a co-sleeper attached to our bed and the boys in their own room. Everyone was in good health. Poor as we were, we were happy and wonderfully blessed.
By the time Christmas had rolled around, we were excited. We had a good pile of gifts for the children, which I was hiding in a closet until the night before Christmas. I was going to be off work for the Christmas holiday and still get PAID, which was amazing for us! We were so looking forward to that fortnight.
My friend Sally called to tell us that her computer had stopped working properly, complaining that it was slow and probably filled with viruses. By that point, whatever trouble she had been having with DFS was over, and we were glad for her, not wishing that sort of trouble on even our worst enemies. Kyle has been working on computers for friends and family since the 80s, so he told her to bring it over. She did so.
Kyle set to work on it, noting some odd things. Her computer was pristine (not a word that Kyle uses often, by the way). It was running as well as it could, being an older laptop that is quite a bit out of date but still serviceable. No viruses. Kyle was starting to get a bit frustrated because he was unable to detect or fix anything on it for her, and he certainly did not want to return it to her until it was guaranteed to work well. He put it aside for a few days, so we could enjoy the Christmas holiday.
What a wonderful Christmas it was! We spent Christmas Eve at his parents’ house, as was our custom. I set out the children’s gifts on a little table in the living room. It was a good stack, and there were even some gifts for Kyle and myself. I had completed a lovely scrapbook for him, which was one of the gifts for him. The children woke early, as children do on those days that include excitement and gifts.
When it was time to open gifts, I pulled out the tablet my father insisted I keep before he departed for North Carolina. We used it to video-chat with my parents, so they could see the children open the gifts they had sent. The children were so excited over all the gifts: Minions, Legos, stuffed animals, books, and more. My daughter received a walker that had her walking independently by mid-January.
Before hanging up, my father asked what we were doing for the next few days. I would not have to return to work until January 2nd, so we were planning to stay home and enjoy being together as a family. Also, we could not afford to do anything else. I remember thinking it was odd of him to ask, especially as we tend to be homebodies anyway.
The next day. Kyle returned to working on Sally’s computer. After copying her hard drive to preserve her files, Kyle began working through the laptop again. He went through his usual processes and checks again, causing the computer to shut down and restart at various intervals. The boys played with their Legos on their new table while we played the “Boov” (Home, starring Jim Parsons). Kes was walking, taking naps, and grabbing any new toys within reach.
After a couple more days, Kyle gave up on it, calling Sally to tell her that her computer was in good working order and that he could not detect what had gone wrong. As usual, he told her to bring it back if whatever it was happened again. Oddly enough, she told us to hang onto it as she was visiting family, saying she would pick it up after New Year’s. Sally did so one day some time after school resumed.
New Year’s Day came and went. I prayed over the new year, confident that it would bring wonderful things for us. Our blessings were already in motion, as far as I could tell.