Virlen Reyes is sitting at a two-top at a Starbucks on the quad of West Chester University, where she is a senior. She is in the middle of telling her life story when she pauses.
Her narrative has unraveled during the course of nearly an hour when Reyes, in a quiet, confident voice, has held forth on the circumstances of her remarkable evolution. It's a gripping tale, and Reyes is a capable storyteller. Now, though, caught in the part between her graduation from high school and her college years, her train of thought stalls as a flash of realization crosses her face.
"I'm just … I'm just noticing now how much effort it took not to give up," she said.