"Thanks for coming on a weekend," I said, walking towards him.
He was seated on the curb of the library parking lot. The lot was too large for the library on the busiest of days, but now it was mostly empty.
Kyle replied, "No problem bro, as long as you've got my payment."
He eyed the paper bag I carried and held out a hand expectantly. I dropped the bag into his outreached palm and he immediately pulled out the contents, a foil-wrapped burrito.
He tore open the wrapping and bit into the burrito. I stifled a laugh.
"What?" he asked, looking up at me, cheeks bulging.
"I just thought you'd eat it after," I replied.
Kyle looked bewildered, "It would get cold that way."
My laughter-shaken shoulders calmed and he gestured to a skateboard propped up on the curb behind him.
"You'll be using my board," he said, "and we're gonna practise your balance and cruising today."
I set down my backpack on the curb and pulled my old bike helmet from it. Kyle snorted but I clipped it on anyway. Kyle sat on the curb, or I guess it was more of a flop.
That boy was mostly limbs. I wondered how he was so long yet so skinny. The burrito however, was half gone so I also wondered how the skinniness was maintained.
"Alright," he said, "step on it."
I stepped on it, wobbled a little, and stepped off as I lost my balance. Kyle frowned.
"Have you ever seen skateboarders in movies? How do they stand on their skateboards?"
I shrugged and Kyle stood. He stepped forward and set a stance with wide legs and partially turned feet. I mimicked him on solid ground. The skateboard rolled slightly but we ignored it.
Then Kyle bent his knees a little and I copied again.
"Better," Kyle said, then stepped back, "Step on."
I stepped on and didn't fall. For the next little while I practised pushing myself along on the board, leaning left and right to turn, and stopping.
"You're doing well," he said.
"Thanks," I replied.
Kyle said, "Do you want to try hills or tricks next?"
I thought about it and said, "Let's try a trick."
Kyle swapped places with me, him on the board and me on the curb. He skated in a wide circle and came along from my left going to my right, then popped the board up into a short hop. I applauded.
"That's an Olly. It's a really basic trick, but it's good to start with."
Similar to how he had explained the stance for skateboarding, he explained how to 'pop an Olly,' jumping into the air sans board.
"Got it?" he said, turning back and settling onto the curb.
"I think so."
I tried, and fell, and tried again and fell again. I tried a few more times, and after the last one Kyle said "Hey, hey, take a break bro."
"One more," I replied.
He shrugged and I circled around, came in too fast, and stumbled when the board shot out from underneath me. My helmet bounced off the pavement and I landed on my back.
Kyle stood up and jogged over to me.
"You alright?" he said, leaning over.
His strawberry blond, shoulder length hair created a curtain around his face.
"Yeah, I'm okay."
I sat up and after a quick inspection he said, "Take a break. I'll get you some water from the library."
As he said it I noticed my breathing was fast and my face felt hot. I took the helmet off as he hurried inside. I stood and walked over to sit more comfortably on the curb.
When he returned with two paper cups he handed one to me.
"I didn't even know the library kept coolers."
"Oh yeah," he said, "Only during the hot months."
I nodded slowly and took a deep drink. Kyle downed his water and crumpled up the cup. I looked at his hands and wondered about him.
"So why do you want to learn?" he asked.
I didn't realise it but when I was looking at his hands, he had been looking at me. I blushed.
"It's sort of a secret."
Kyle tutted, "No, that won't do. If you want more lessons you'll have to tell me."
"So?" I laughed, "I'll just use wikihow or whatever."
Kyle frowned and put his hands together, holding them over his mouth in thought, "How about I answer one of your questions and you answer mine?"
I blinked. I had not expected this, "Okay."
We were silent a moment before Kyle said, "You first."
I took a deep breath, "My girlfriend met a guy at her summer camp who skateboards competitively."
Kyle winced, "You've got some stiff competition then."
I nodded grimly. I already knew I'd lost that one.
Then I said, "Why do you offer skateboarding lessons for burritos specifically?"
Kyle raised an eyebrow then answered, "They pack a lot of nutrients into one meal."
I scowled, "That's not an answer."
Kyle rolled his eyes and leaned over to grab his board, putting his feet up onto it so he could roll it back and forth under him.
"I'm homeless," he said, "And I have been for a few months now. I'm trying to finish school while couch-surfing at some friends places but that leaves the issue of food.
Burritos are tasty, and full of all the good stuff."
"Oh," I said, "I didn't know."
He shrugged and leaned back on his hands, "Whatever, bro. Life sucks and we live with it."
"If you ever need a meal, you can come home with me after school. I don't live far."
Kyle looked at me and a slight smile appeared on his lips.
"Thanks, I appreciate it."
What I didn't know at the time was that I was falling in love with Kyle Torres.