“He can’t read, mister,” were the only words I ever heard Troy speak. Even when I would go to say hello, Ty would give his younger brother this angry stare, and Troy would immediately shut right up. That little guy couldn’t have been more than ten. Mostly I recall how he would always be scribbling away in that dirty yellow notebook (you know the one). When Troy was busy in that book, his eyes had such a different look. They didn’t look scared. It was like his eyes smiled as he wrote, as if another universe existed in that book, one that was alive and hopeful. But it only was alive in that book, because the moment he looked away from it, those fearful frightened eyes came right back. The first day I saw Troy…that kid…he, well, he just rooted himself in me. And those eyes…I could see them in my sleep at night.
The next time I heard Troy speak was probably about four months later in the back of a police cruiser. I helped Tyrell get this job at one of those photocopy places. Troy was leaning against the window, writing in that notebook of his. I said “hi” but all I got was those ominous eyes sneaking a look at me. Just as quickly, they were back in that book again.
As I opened the door, Tyrell was stepping outside to have a smoke. Then it happened! It was piercing, like lightning crashing out of a calm, clear blue sky…happened just as I was speaking to Tyrell’s boss. I remember it like it was yesterday.