Redeemed on Tucker Street: Chapter Six: A Student Again
Disclaimer: The author does not, by recording the actions of the main character, endorse the actions of said character, or any other character in this work.
CHAPTER SIX: A Student Again
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Allie Holmes. Track: LVN. Class of 2015. Houston Community College.
That felt good.
Hey, it might just be community college, just an LVN, and just an associates’ for now. But it was still nursing school. I was going to be a nurse.
It had been a while since I decided to pursue nursing. I had graduated Klein High. I had applied and been approved for federal aid, and I had just started school last week.
Not trying to brag or anything, but I looked really good in scrubs. I thought I did, anyways. I felt important. Even if I was just a first year student, I had a lab that was specifically for a nursing class—so I got to wear scrubs. I’d have my clinicals next year, right before I graduated with my A.S.
The hard part was balancing work and school. For the summer, I had started working day shifts. That was really nice. But, when college started, I had to switch back to working the afternoon and night shift most days.
It was alright. It would be worth it in the long run.
Kenny. That was another adjustment that we had made during the summer. I say we because—well, because he had come to live with me.
His grandmother had moved into a home, because of her dementia. His family had sold the house, you know, because of the high cost of those types of places. He had been looking for a place to live…and, well, long story short, we decided to make our relationship official and move in together. He moved into my apartment in June.
Granny's old pastor had protested. Something about the Bible, and how it didn’t approve of people living together without being “officially” married, or something of the sort. He had all these wacky ideas. Anyways, I just told him again why I had never gone to church with Granny, and why I don’t really care what the Bible says. What’s he supposed to say to that?
Plus, if what Granny's pastor says is right, I’m young. She did what she wanted when she was young, too. I’ll fix it all when I’m older.
I snorted. I had heard some preacher on TV say the other day that if you needed something, you should just believe that you would have it. Like keep believing really hard, and proclaim that it’s yours. Then God would give you what you wanted.
I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.
Oh, I mean, maybe it works for him. His house looks more like a palace than a preacher’s house. He says it’s because he has great faith, and God gives him whatever he wants.
Yeah. Ok, if that’s what floats your boat, go ahead. It’s sure not what floats mine.
Granny’s pastor is a lot different. I could see him in my mind’s eye; tall, thin, dark-skinned man. He always had a tattered Bible in his hand, and a genuine smile on his face. I’m not sure where he lived—maybe in those little apartments on Kuykendahl. He had a wife, too; a short little woman with kind eyes and a sing-songish voice.
Anyways, I’m not going to let any pastor tell me what to do. Maybe it’s wrong; but I don’t see that it’s hurting anything right now. Let’s not try to fix what’s not broken.
I pulled up to the gas pump on the corner and shut off my engine. While I pumped gas, I looked around at the familiar surroundings.
Free Pregnancy Test. Hm. Funny I hadn’t noticed that sign before. It was right there on the corner of Wunderlich Street.
Though Kenny and I lived together, and everything that came along with that, we sure weren’t ready to have kids yet. We were careful. Neither of us wanted to sacrifice our careers for kids.
The way it was, we both had to work, and go to school full-time, which left zero time for anything else. A kid would throw a huge wrench into that.
I chuckled tensely, under my breath. That’s why we have birth control, I suppose.
I did wonder why they gave out free tests at such a place, though. Seems rather unprofitable for them, anyways. I wasn’t all that interested, though; no need for it.
The gas pump clicked back into place, and I slid into the seat of my old Mazda. I smiled. It might be old, and ugly; but it was mine. I bought it cash this summer.
My smile edged a tad bigger. The summer of 2013 had been a good one. The first in a while.
It was time to go to school.
“Hey, Allie!” A voice behind me turned my head.
“Allie Holmes, right?” Something about the straight, brown hair and the black glasses of the girl before me was vaguely familiar. I nodded.
“I thought it was you! Remember me?”
The advisor’s room; graduating; that engineers daughter; everything was so easy for her—of course I remembered. “Yeah—yeah of course. You went to Klein Forest High?”
“Sure did.” Her engaging, wide smile, the one that seemed to touch both of her ears, was irresistible. “I’m going here now! Hopefully getting my RN. What about you? I didn’t know you had started college.”
I was a little dubious. She had never paid attention to me in high school. Not that I remembered anyways. “Um—yeah, I’m actually nursing, too. Just an LVN for now.”
“That’s awesome. Say, you still work at Walmart, right?”
I mentally raised my eyebrows. “Yeah—why?”
“Well, I’m actually looking for a job. I thought I might ask if your manager was hiring.”
I was confused. “I’m sorry—I thought your dad was like…”
Now it was her turn to be confused. “Like…what?”
“I’m sorry—like, rich. I figured you’d never need a job?”
A painful look flickered across her face. “I—I haven’t seen my dad in years.”
I was speechless.
She collected herself and smiled brightly again. “I live with my mom, and my big brother. But, you know, tuition is tuition, and I’m having to pay for it. I’d rather not go into debt, so I thought maybe I could get a job.”
I blinked a couple times. “I had no idea. I guess—I guess you were just successful in school, so I figured you had it together.” I bit my lip and wished I could disappear into a hole in the linoleum beneath me. Just stop talking, before you say anything else stupid, I told myself.
“Yeah, it’s ok. No problem.” She straightened her glasses. “What about you? Do you live with your parents?”
“No, I actually live with my boyfriend in an apartment off Tucker Street. My dad and mom are both…ah, well, they’re both gone.”
My new friend reached over and laid a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
I shrugged. “Eh. It’s ok. It’s been a while now.”
“You’re doing so well though! That’s really something, everything you’ve been able to do.”
I smiled. “Thanks.” I laughed, a little sheepishly. “Um, I’m really sorry, but I have no idea…I have no idea what your name is.”
The girl laughed brightly. “Elizabeth Martin. Lizzy for short. Sorry, I was always kind of busy in high school. I didn’t make many friends. Kind of by choice I guess; high school is just—well, it’s high school.”
“Oh, believe me.” I grimaced. “I know what you mean.”
Lizzy stopped in front of the philosophy classroom. “Well, it was nice to catch up. We should get coffee, or something.”
“For sure.” I turned, and then stopped. “Oh, Lizzy?”
“I’m actually the manager of the checkers at Wal-Mart.” I chuckled, awkwardly. “Ah—you can come in for an interview tomorrow.”
Lizzy looked startled. “Wait, what? You mean—like you could actually hire me?”
I smiled and shrugged. “Hey, if you can scan stuff and do simple math, the job is yours. I had a checker quit last week.”
“Th-thank you! Whe—when should I plan to come in?”
“Ah—4:30? Does that work for school?”
“Yeah! Thank you!”
I walked down the hall, smiling to myself. Making friends was new to me. It was another good feeling.