Truth is stranger (and more likely to involve armadillos) than fiction

Author’s Note: Special thanks to Katie Taylor-Spero for her assistance!

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This is what I thought my life would look like when I moved back home to the rural South as a 37-year-old single woman.
I’d rent a small house in the woods with land for the dog while I settled into my job as the most perfect professor ever. A few months later, I’d purchase a 2-story farmhouse built in the 1800s with a double wrap-around porch and original hardwoods and clapboard ceilings close to the quaint little downtown area so that the dog (Luna) and I could walk to the restaurants and shops and make friends with all of the business owners.

We’d sit outside the local café that is owned by the husband and wife team who fell in love in high school and made their entire lives in this small town. They’d introduce Luna and me to other locals: the quirky old man who wears overall shorts and a straw hat everywhere he goes, even in winter; the woman who owns the pastry shop down the way and makes “the best chocolate pecan pie in the South”; the adorably handsome, new-to-town property owner across the tracks who is starting up an event space with artist studios and a carpentry workshop and builds furniture on the side, who also has a dog that Luna actually gets along with every time they walk by the café in the morning.

I’d sit in front of the café, grading well-written essays by students completely enthralled in theatre because they are inspired by my honest, relatable, electrifying teaching ability and decide to switch their majors just to have the opportunity to work with me and get to know me better as a mentor and friend. I’d slowly, over the

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