ALLISON WHITTENBERG lives in Philadelphia, PA.
Hakiam Powell and Wendy Anderson were on opposite ends of the spectrum: social spectrum, financial spectrum, opportunity spectrum, you name it. But their divisions never seemed sharper than the moment Hakiam steps into the tutoring center and meets Wendy at the front desk. She looks pretentious and uptight; he looks disheveled and disinterested. But for Wendy, Hakiam's personality is a challenge, and for Hakiam, Wendy's drive, honesty, and caring ways are fascinating.
While their differences remain, with each conversation new light is shed onto the other's situation. Hakiam didn't have a family that cared about him or expected him to go to college and excel. Wendy never had to emotionally detach herself from everything to not worry about the countless deaths of family members, or lack thereof to guide her. Both were in need of someone who would listen without judgment, who didn't know where they were coming from and could focus on the things that really matter.