Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tyra and Leon
"So..is something happening to us?" Tyra put it off as long as she could. In all the 18 years of her life, she had somehow managed to alienate herself from everyone. She'd been in foster care since she was almost four. There were possibilities that she'd manage to be back with her family. It was talked about. And supposedly, she had sisters. Sisters she was suppose to remember, but never did.
Since then she'd lived with old people. People who had far too many kids to take care of. Women who loved their families but avoided their marriages like the plague. She'd never said anything much, but just did enough to get by....so no one would think she was crazy.
There was that one time, they were worried she couldn't read. She was reluctant to take her ACTs or the SATs but somehow aced them, in spite of herself.
She kept hearing how smart she was. She didn't really believe them. Perhaps she was just smart enough to stay out of trouble. But it was least expected when she bumped into Leon at that interview at Roger's. She got the basement room instead of him.
They talked about college stuff. Cliche as it was, he didn't dare mention how he was living on the street. It wasn't until she noticed how he hung out late at the library on campus, or how he always managed to be in the campus coffee shop the same time she was.
"Didn't I just see you?" She would ask. Leon would joke about it. It was casual conversation for the longest time. Then one day after class when she saw him by the fountain, reading some Shakespeare book, Tyra asked him why he didn't get the room.
"I'm friends with Roger." He shrugged.
"But..but you'd think you'd have gotten the room." Tyra thought that was kind of funny.
"Yeah, well, they know Roger. I think that girl Olivia thought, well, something might happen."
"Like what?" Tyra couldn't help but laugh.
"Some kind drama. Boy drama, I guess." Leon didn't sound afraid of it.
"Oh." What was he trying to tell her? Well, she didn't want to ask. And maybe he was just a nice guy who would figure out she was rather boring. It was all going to stop on a sunny day down by the fountain. But it didn't.
Instead, she showed her where he worked at the children's theater. He sneaked her in to see a musical on campus. They started meeting up, accidentally. And..somehow, she figured out, he was staying down at a shelter.
"But you could be in the dorm." She reminded him, after the first night he stayed over. Not that anything happened. Physically. After all, all she had was a little half bed and he'd slept on the floor in his sleeping bag.
"I will." Something had happened at home. His grandmother died and he was soon kicked out of her apartment. There wasn't any other family, but an aunt that lived in Oklahoma City, and he didn't wanted to go there. The university was his home. This was where his friends were.
Now here they were. He'd helped her sneak in a bigger bed they'd found at Salvation Army. The place was pretty much becoming theirs not hers. Still they were just friends. Not even with benefits. Just friends who needed each other.
Still, when he did hold her hand from time to time... It was electric. But why, why was he like this? Definitely straight edge that most people took him to be completely gay, she guessed. They'd kissed. He knew how she felt about him. But his words always came back to haunt her. "You just think you're saving me." Why did that have to be a bad thing?
Was he trying to decide if he was gay or not? All Tyra wanted truly was a family. And she thought it might start with Leon, but she'd have to let him decide.
"You start student teaching in the fall." She said as if that was the hope he needed. Of course, it felt a long way from becoming a nurse. "And then what?"
"I guess I'll be right here, with you." Leon finally let a smile slip. "Its just, I always told my grandma, I'd wait. Tell marriage. I have to keep my promise." It was the sex thing. It was actually the first he'd mentioned it. She could wait. But it was official. He was living here now.