September 6, 2011

Potters - Round 4

Wyatt and Myrtle fell into a comfortable rhythm.  While Wyatt enjoyed devouring how-to books, Myrtle would bring the paper in and read the social pages and the funnies.  Every now and then she'd comment on something that caught her eye.

"You'd never believe that silly Marmaduke," she'd say as she tsked.

Then, Wyatt would tend the bushes while Myrtle puttered around the house cleaning.  They also loved talking about Ethel.  It helped both of them grieve to lean on each other.  Sometimes Wyatt caught himself wondering how his life would have turned out had he met Myrtle first.  But, as soon as the thought popped into his head, he immediately felt traitorous.  He knew how fickle life could be.  It was better not to get caught up in the "should-a, would-a, could-a, didn't."

One day, Alvin brought home his study partner.  Now Wyatt understood why the boy was always so anxious to go meet her.  He remarked to Myrtle one morning that they should probably have a talk with Alvin about the birds and the bees.  Myrtle had been horrified and quite adamant that it was way too early to discuss that with him.  

 

"Look Sonja.  Algebra is easy! You take the x on the left side and subtract it from the right side..." Alvin said excitedly.

Sonja just moaned and said, "Alllllvin, I'm never going to understand this.  Would you mind showing me the next problem?"

"Sure! In this problem you take the y and divide it by the 3y..."

Sonja glanced around and lowered her voice, "Would you mind just writing the answer down?"

Alvin frowned.  "But, then how are you going to understand how to do the problems?"

Sonja just flipped her hair over her shoulder and smiled, "Oh Alvin. Don't be silly.  I'll be able to look back and make sure that I got the right answer when I do it."

That made sense to Alvin! "Sure Sonja. I don't mind doing that. Give me a second and I'll do that for all the problems!"

Sonja smiled up at Alvin.  "Oh Alvin, that would be wonderful," she cooed.

Alvin felt like a hero.

 After Alvin had finished writing the answers down, Sonja checked her watch and acted surprised.  "Oh my gosh, Alvin. I have to get home! I told my mom I'd be home before 6! You don't mind that I'm cutting out early, do you?"  Sonja grabbed her homework and shoved it in her backpack. 

As Alvin stood to walk her out, Sonja turned back and squeezed Alvin tight. "You've been a life-saver!" she whispered in his ear.

Alvin cleared his throat and tried to speak, but all that came out was a squeak.  He tried again and was able to stammer, "No... no... problem Sonja. Anytime."  He could feel his cheeks burning.  Sonja just giggled and ran out of the house and down the front walk.

Wow, Alvin thought, this tutoring is fun!
 ***

The next day, Sonja came home with Alvin for help on her homework.  Once he'd finished writing the answers down, she'd glanced around.  "Hey, Alvin. Where are your folks?"

Alvin just shrugged.  "I think they said they were going into town to pick up a few things.  Auntie Myrtle said they'd probably be back in late."

Sonja's eyes lit up.  "Oh!" she said excitedly, grabbing his hands.  "Let's throw a party. We can invite over a few people."

Alvin was unconvinced.  "I don't know, Sonja.  I generally ask first."

Sonja's face fell.  "Oh come Alvin! It'll be fun!"  She ran over to the phone and handed it to him.

Hesitantly, he punched in the number for Jansen.  "Hey Jansen... what are you up to this afternoon?"

Alvin was so glad he'd let Sonja talk him into throwing the party.  Everyone had fun dancing around the kitchen and joking around.  Sonja had tried to talk others into trying to find someone to pick up some beer, but no one else had been interested.

"Oh come on Alvin.  It'll make it a lot more fun!"

Michelle had frowned.  "Yeah. And illegal."

Sonja had crossed her arms and glared, "You guys are way uncool.  Alvin. I'll see you tomorrow after school. See ya!"  Alvin watched her huff off.

Michelle rolled her eyes.  "What are you doing hanging around her anyways? She's bad news, you know."

Alvin had defended his friend.  "No she's not Michelle! She's nice!"

"Oh yeah? Let me guess. She comes over and you write down the answers to her homework," Michelle said knowingly.

Alvin felt his face flush.  "What do you know?" he said crossly.

Michelle's face fell and she touched his shoulder. "I'm sorry Alvin. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. It's just that... she used to do that to my friend Mark.  Mark thought she liked him up until he stopped doing her homework.  She's a user, Alvin."

Alvin just shook Michelle's hand off his shoulder.  "Just drop it. I don't want to talk about it."

Michelle stood next to him, feeling awkward.  "I'm sorry, Alvin." she pressed.

"Just drop it, Michelle."
***
Alvin came home and slammed his backpack on the floor.  Wyatt glanced up from his reading.  "Anything wrong, son?"

"I'm not your son!" Alvin said as he slammed his door. 

Wyatt exchanged a glance with Myrtle over the top of her newspaper and shrugged.  "Welcome to the teenage years," he said softly enough for her to hear.  

Myrtle laughed quietly and went back to reading her newspaper.

***
Myrtle passed away quietly later that night.  Wyatt found her the next morning when she didn't come out to read the newspaper.  Hearing Wyatt's exclamation, Alvin had run in and stopped short when he saw Auntie Myrtle laying on the bed.  

"Is she..." he started to say.

Wyatt had just nodded his head and sighed.  

Alvin ran to him and cried into his shoulder.  Wyatt wrapped his arms around Alvin and held him until the tears stopped coming.  

Alvin swiped at the tears on his face and grumbled, "I'm not supposed to cry like a little girl."

Wyatt had just lifted Alvin's face up to look into his own wet eyes.  "Even grown men cry, son." 

Alvin just nodded and then looked away, uncomfortable seeing the tears in Wyatt's eyes.  Wyatt was supposed to be his rock. 

Wyatt noticed over the next few weeks that Alvin's study partner had stopped coming over.  He'd asked Alvin about it, but Alvin just shrugged.  Ever since that girl had stopped coming over, Alvin had gotten surly.  Probably nursing a wounded heart, Wyatt supposed.  Nothing like a spat with a female to make a man crazy.
But, Wyatt kept wondering if there was something else he could say or do to help Alvin deal with the life changes.  He was well aware that he technically wasn't Alvin's father.  Not even really an uncle.  But while he wasn't related by blood or marriage, Wyatt loved Alvin and wanted the best for him. So, Wyatt tried to steer Alvin away from his intense studies.

"Hey, have you heard from your friend Jansen lately?"  Wyatt asked one afternoon while they studied together in silence.  Alvin had just distractedly said that Jansen was busy with his family.  Wyatt took it as a sign to butt out.  When Alvin was ready to talk, he would talk.

Carters - Round 4               Potters - Round 5


3 comments:

  1. Noooooou, poor Myrtle ç_ç! I kinda expected Wyatt to go too, I am glad he is still alive. And poor Alvin :/. He will be all alone after Wyatt's death. I hope he finds a good girl soon.

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  2. Poor Alvin. Poor Wyatt too! I agaree with Gwenelan...Alvin needs to find a good kind girl. I know! Michelle! :)

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  3. Poor Alvin, kids been through a lot. It's sad that Myrtle went now too....I hope Alvin picks a good girl, like Michelle. :) Poor Wyatt too, he's such a good "father" to Alvin.

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