She stood a few feet back from the bay window so Bruce couldn’t see. Watching him shovel her walk made her cringe, but Liza had come to realize that she and Bruce were similar in a lot of ways. He didn’t like to accept help, though he was willing to give help to others. He wouldn’t leave her to fend for herself with her messed up eye; just like she wouldn’t let him go out in this weather without a place to keep warm. Her phone hooted.
“THERE’S A MAN SHOVELING YOUR STEPS.” It was Jake.
“I know,” texted Liza.
“HE’S WEARING THE SAME CLOTHES.”
“I WON’T SAY I TOLD U SO.”
“You’re so sweet.”
“ANY TIME. SCREAM IF YOU NEED ME. :-*”
Liza tossed the phone on an end table. Was Bruce homeless? It didn’t seem possible considering that he was a college dean, though it would explain a lot: the encounters with homeless people, why he asked her to drop him off at a park, him wearing the same clothes, why he often seemed hungry or tired. Maybe this was the “long story that he didn’t want to talk about”. If he was homeless, how could it have happened? He was looking at houses online after class once. Maybe he sold his old house without finding a new one? That didn’t make sense. He could just get an apartment or a hotel room. Did he have a gambling problem or a drug addiction? She couldn’t imagine it.
She peeked out the window again. Bruce was halfway done. How was she going to get him to stay? She went out back to have a cigarette on the deck. Liza thought about her little sister pounding on the door last week. Laura was lazy and selfish, but wasn’t it Liza’s job to look after her? She and Bruce didn’t know each other well, they hadn’t spoken in months, and she probably shouldn’t trust him. Yet, here she was, trying to find a way to force help on him that he may not want or need. She thought it really sucked that not only don’t you get to choose your family, but that you don’t even get to choose who you fall in love with.