Authors: Ruthie Robinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #African American
Reye arrived home just as her cell phone rang. It was
Sam. “Hey, it’s my annoying big brother Sam calling,”
she said by way of greeting.
“I saw you leave with Mr. Defender. Is he the one you
were talking about the other night?”
“Yes, nosey, his name is Stephen. Remember when I
spent the week in Dallas taking care of Jack’s rug rats?”
“Well, we met at the airport on the way back and got
to know each other a little on the plane ride home.”
“You like him?”
“Yep, he invited me to a party that didn’t end too
well. One of his fraternity brothers said some things
about African-American women that I found offensive. I guess I needed to make sure Stephen didn’t feel the same
“Are you sure now?”
“I think so. I want to try, anyway. What do you
“It’s your call, your consequences. Just be careful.”
“You know I’m always around if you need to talk.”
“Look at you, being nice to your little sister. Thanks,
Sam, that means a lot to me.” Reye hung up and her cell
hone rang again. It was Stephen this time. Her heart did
a little dance.
Please don’t be calling to cancel,
“Hey, it’s Stephen. Just making sure you hadn’t
changed your mind about Saturday.”
“Nope, it’s still on, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“Yeah, that makes two of us. Do I need to bring any
“Nope, just you.”
“I will. Take care and I’ll see you Saturday.”
* * *
Reye’s after-school class was growing. She looked
around the room at the three additional children that had
joined the program since she’d started. Her group now
totaled ten. She had learned a lot about the kids, and a
lot about herself, since joining the center. As part of the
university’s degree course work, she’d been introduced to
the concept of teaching children based on the way in
which they received and processed information. Luckily
she’d paid attention, not realizing she’d have to put her
knowledge to use so soon.
Tutoring the kids at the center had challenged her
perceptions about how kids learned. Her involvement with them, her need to see them succeed, drove her to
find out as much as she could to help them. Her free
time was now spent reading, researching, practicing,
and testing theories learned on and with the kids during
the program. The belief that one could identify the way i
n which a particular child learned opened a door for
She began to understand her own issues with
learning, finding answers to questions that had plagued
her growing up. She now understood why she’d done
better with some teachers and less so with others. Her favorite teacher had been her third grade teacher, Mrs.
Sanchez, an older Hispanic lady. She’d sat with Reye,
continuously reviewing the sounds that letters made, over
and over until Reye understood. Reye had fallen behind
her other classmates in school, and she needed the extra
attention. Mrs. Sanchez had also used pictures to help
Reye remember. But it had been the repetition that made
the information stick with her. Mrs. Sanchez had shown
so much patience, along with her mother’s help at home.
Their efforts resulted in a tenfold improvement in her
reading that year. Now she recognized how much Mrs.
Sanchez and her mom had done for her. Armed with the
knowledge regarding learning styles and with a new level
of self awareness, she felt compelled to come up with the
means to incorporate what she’d learned every day. She
observed her kids, worked with them, seeking to identify
each of their styles. More importantly, she sought a way
to explain these concepts to them, hoping to arm them
with tools to use to help themselves once they’d moved
on from the program.
Reye settled on several funny phrases to describe the
differing styles. “Seeing is Believing”, “Shake, shake,
shake your body”, “Talk to me, baby”, and “Order is
Among Us” were the names she created.
Seeing is believing” was the name for the kids who
learned visually, by seeing images. They typically enjoyed
art and drawing and were interested in how machines
worked and with inventing. They were often accused of
being daydreamers in class.
“Shake, shake, shake your body” referred to the kids
who processed information using physical sensations.
They were highly active, not able to sit still for long
periods of time, and they showed you rather than told
you. They needed to touch and feel the world. They were
naturally athletic and loved sports, and were quick to be
labeled with attention deficient disorder.
“Talk to me, baby” described her talkers. They were
joke-tellers, and language came easy to them.
“Order is among us” referred to the kids that were
logical and orderly thinkers. They were the easiest to
teach. They were good at figuring how things worked.
She was proud of her kids and how much they’d
improved. Michael, a shy African-American boy, had
joined their group a few days ago. He’d walked in the
class with his head down, where it remained while he suffered though introductions to the other children. Shane,
usually shy, approached him. “What are you?”
Michael lifted his head, giving Shane a puzzled look.
“I’m Michael,” he answered, his voice high pitched.
Shane, not receiving the answer he needed, but not
giving up yet, asked again. “I know that, but what are
you?” Again, Michael looked puzzled. Shane continued,
“Are you a shake, shake, shake your body?” He demon
strated by moving his hips. Reye hadn’t been able to resist
dding movement to accompany that phrase, not really
expecting any of the children to perform it. “Or are you
a seeing is believing kid?” Not waiting for an answer, he
said, “I’m a seeing is believing kid.”
Now Michael really was confused. Reye walked over
to him and explained what that meant. “What Shane is
trying to ask you is how you learn. He knows that we all
learn differently.” She looked at Shane with a smile.
“We’ll find your learning style as we get to know you,
and that will help us and you with your homework. For
now, how about we finish introducing you to the other
kids and show you around the center.”
* * *
It was Saturday evening and Reye was going through
her pre-dinner checklist. She’d gone grocery shopping earlier in the day and purchased wine, spaghetti, salad
ingredients, and bread. The meal she had planned was
one of the few things she could cook decently. Who
couldn’t boil spaghetti and add sauce to it? But in light of
this special occasion she splurged, purchasing a more
expensive brand of sauce instead of her usual Ragu.
Dessert tonight would be her if she were lucky, but
just in case, she’d also purchased fruit tarts from a bakery
down the street. Reye had gotten to know the family that
owned it, a husband and wife with two school-age kids.
She’d stop in on her way to catch the bus if she hadn’t
been able to eat breakfast at home. She admired the way
this family managed to incorporate the whole work-life b
alance thing. They owned a home in the neighborhood,
owned the bakery nearby, and rode bicycles instead of driving to work. Not driving a car in Texas was saying
something. She didn’t know if they owned one or not.
She’d only seen them with bikes. In the morning, she’d
catch a glimpse of them, the dad and the two children, helmets on everyone’s heads, backpacks secured on the
backs of all three, as they rode toward school. Dad was
the leader of this motley caravan, stopping to make sure they kept up and helping them to navigate around and
through busy intersections. It was so cool to see them, and she loved watching them.
She’d picked up some condoms and put them in the
drawer next to her bed. She’d also put some in the couch
seat cushions, under the couch, in the kitchen and other
strategic places around her house. Safety first, and she was a safety girl.
She’d heated the spaghetti sauce earlier and added a few of her secret ingredients. All that was left to do was
to boil the noodles and brown the bread. The salad sat
prepared and waiting in the refrigerator.
She’d spent considerable time on her body today, too.
She soaked herself in a tub filled with her favorite scent
and conditioned her skin until it was as soft as a baby’s
bottom. Well, maybe not that soft. She donned her
favorite khaki shorts that hugged her curves and came to
just above her knees. She added a top in white that
looked great against her skin. Next came a pair of flats and some dangling earrings, and she was done. It was
casual at-home wear, but it showed off her body to per
fection. She’d remembered that they both liked John
Mayer, so she added his most recent CD to the mix. She
was ready. The house was usually kept clean, she’d given
it extra attention last night.
Stephen had stopped by the market and picked up some flowers. He couldn’t remember ever doing that
before, not since prom, and even then his mother had picked those up. The Garden had been his starting point
as he followed the path he’d taken walking Reye home.
He parked his car behind her truck in the drive and
walked up to her door. Again, he was impressed with her
home. You could tell that someone took time with it.
There were attractive flowers in a neat bed, the yard was cut and the hedges trimmed. Did she take care of that
herself? He knocked on the door and waited. It opened
almost immediately. He stood there for a second, taking
in her eyes and her wide smile. She was so open sometimes that he felt afraid for her.
“Come in,” she said. He tracked her eyes as they
moved to his hand and took in the flowers he held.
“These are for you,” he said, handing them over to her.
“Thank you, they are beautiful. Make yourself at
home while I put these in something.” God, she thought,
what was she, the hostess with the mostest straight out of
a scene from a family sitcom. It was annoying sometimes, but she couldn’t help herself. Her mom had relentlessly
drilled manners into her and her brothers.
Stephen watched her walk away, his body responding
to the picture she presented. Her clothes fit her like a
econd skin. To take his mind off that part of his
anatomy, he looked around her home. It was cozy. Light
green, light blue, and yellow covered different walls in the
room, and the molding and trim were white. Tiled floors
were covered by equally colorful rugs, matching the
colors on the walls. There were lots of framed posters
anchored to the walls. Pictures covered most surfaces, her
with her family, and he guessed with friends, all with
faces smiling into the camera.
In the kitchen, Reye located a pitcher to put the
flowers in. F.I.N.E described that man, fanning herself with her hand as she set about putting the flowers in a
vase. He’d kept his attire casual, too— cargo shorts
topped off with a blue polo that matched his eyes. He
was her “Mr. Golden” all tall, lean, and sexy. She went
back to join him in the living room.
“I like your home. You like
,” he said as she re
entered the living room. He put heavy emphasis on the