The novel takes you on a transformational journey with the women of "Renegotiating Kayla". Read along as the women let go of their public faces, and begin to reveal fears and truths. You will witness an unarmoring of each character’s confidence, as they heed the warning to get real, and in particular, real honest. *Read Chapters in Sequence using the Index.
Chapter 4 and 5, Kayla Returns the Favor and Aisha's Drive Home
A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel Chapter 4 and 5
Kayla Returns the Favor
I heard Camie’s ring tone, and
quickly dug my cellphone out of my purse.
I was surprised to hear the ringer that had become somewhat
infrequent. Camie was still my best
girlfriend, but my getting married had somehow come between us.
“Hey Camie!! What’s up?”
“Hey. You busy?”
Camie sounded quite distraught and obviously didn’t care to waste any time
getting to the point of her call.
“No, not exactly.”
“Well, I just needed to ask your
advice on something.”
“Sure. What is it?”
“There’s something I need to share
with you first—something that I’ve been keeping.”
“You! You never hide anything.” I said, knowing how open Camie had always
been with me; mainly about her many sexual delights. What could be more worth hiding than that?
“Well, I have…and it’s really big,
but I hope you can forgive me.” Camie
spoke with so much disappointment in her voice.
It was not like her. She was
always up and I was the one who was usually down. I didn’t know how to wear her hat—and it
scared me. What if I didn’t say the
right things or couldn’t offer the same understanding she did. I had no idea what she was going to tell me,
but I was awfully nervous. In anticipation
of the unknown, I quickly closed my office door.
I sat in
silence for a few moments after Camie had dragged her skeleton out of the
closet. I tried to put myself in her
shoes and say something similar to the kind of thing I would have wanted to
hear, but I couldn’t seem to put the words together. Eventually, I heard myself mutter “wow”. This was obviously a hat I had never bothered
to try on, and surely there was a good reason why; it just didn’t fit. Still searching for the right set of words, I
then heard myself offer to drive to Tampa. I mean if there was a friend who would do it for
me, this was that friend. In fact I was
certain I was indebted to Camie— after all the late night phone calls I had
made to her over the years. Not to
mention, I’d never even bothered to ask if she had company, and she never made
it a point to enlighten me. Camie had
been a rock solid friend, and now it was my turn to return the favor. I wasn’t sure why I was going to Tampa to do
it but it was a commitment my awkwardness had gotten me into, and I didn’t dare
back out. Besides, Camie was already
praising me, and telling me how great it would be for me to meet and get to
Aisha’s Drive Home
I found myself sitting in my
mother’s driveway more than thirty miles away from my house. It was a place I hardly saw as a refuge; my
mother was not a comforting type of person but this was where the road had led
me. I didn’t bother to call any of my
girlfriends because I knew they would try to solve it— give me all kinds of
advice. At least I knew the most my
mother would say was, “I told you so”. I
surely didn’t want Kayla to know; it would only confirm her fears, and I knew
she wouldn’t be objective or impartial.
I sat there for nearly fifteen minutes with my hand on my head wondering
if this was a can of worms I really wanted to open. It was still early enough for me to drive
back home and pretend everything was fine.
If I chose this hand, by morning everyone in my family would know of my
troubles— my mother was supportive that way.
about it one last time and slowly began backing out of the driveway; praying
not to be seen or heard. On the way
home, I could feel my anger building, and it was slowly overshadowing my broken
heart. I simply wanted to walk up to my
husband and slap the lies out of him. I
wanted to embarrass him to way he did me. Mostly, I wanted him to plead and beg for me
not to put his ass out. I wanted him to
see the no shit taking side of me, and beg for mercy. For the remainder of the drive I thought
about all the ways to satisfy my anger.
By the time
I arrived home, my anger was slowly fading, and the love I held for Tony had
resurfaced. I was again strained with
the decision of what to do. I hid my
prescription bag in my workbag, and pulled into the two car garage where Tony’s
car was already parked. I turned the
engine off, and sat there trying to fight back a river of tears. I knew that Tony had heard me pulling in and
would eventually come looking if he didn’t see me soon after, so I hurried to
pull it together. I didn’t know how my
emotions would sway upon seeing him, but I quickly looked up into the air—as if
to say, “God, help me” and then took a huge deep breath. I walked into the living room where the TV
was playing but wasn’t being watched. I heard
Tony in the kitchen, and quickly yelled out, “I’m home” while heading straight
for the bedroom. At the top of the
stairs, I listened to make sure Tony was still in the kitchen, and I quickly
rushed to find a place for my meds. I
couldn’t help but wonder why I was foolishly carrying all the shame; why I was the
one hiding and avoiding the issue. Did
part of me honestly believe I could have somehow gotten this on my own? Why couldn’t I confront Tony the way I had
done when I needed to with men in the past?
Maybe I had never truly been in love before, or maybe it was the dreaded
thought of failure. I just didn’t want
to be wrong about Tony; about the love we shared; the love I believed we
shared. How could my heart lead me in
the wrong direction? I had always been
told to follow my heart and I did. So
why was I here? Had “they” been wrong
all along? Was it our heads we should
have been following?
I took a
long shower and then went right to bed without anything to eat. I heard Tony coming up the stairs and I
pretended to be sleeping. I felt his
gentle kiss on my forehead and heard the words “I Love You” come from his lips,
and I forced myself to keep my eyes closed.
As he left the room, I felt the tears spilling out from my tightly shut
eyes. Yet, I stayed quiet and still for
hours while my mind lingered and wandered all over the place. I could hear my cellphone ringing but I never
budged. Once Tony left for work, I jumped
up and frantically got dressed. I drove
twenty-five minutes to Sax, still not quite sure what I was hoping to
find. I pulled up on the opposite side
of the street and easily spotted Tony’s car in the not-yet-crowded parking lot. I sat there feeling a bit of deja vu,
thinking that this was not the first time I had been in this situation;
stalking the man I was in relationship with.
I had vowed never to do it again, but it wasn’t that simple; this time I
was wife and he was husband. I sat for
nearly an hour feeling like nineteen all over again. Eventually, I convinced myself that my
actions were lame, and I decided to head back home. On the way back, in an effort to disrupt my
thoughts, I remembered to check the messages on my cellphone.
“First message, from ‘Kayla’; Hey Aisha, I’m calling to see
if you want to drive with me to Tampa to meet up with Camie. She got some family drama and she needs the
support. Second message, from ‘Kayla’;
Hey Aisha, still haven’t heard back from you.
Where you at? Anyway, I’m leaving
first thing in the morning, so if you want to go, meet me at my place by seven.
Later! Love you!”
I thought about the word “drama” as
I continued my journey home and how it had reared its head in my life; now
Camie’s? Honestly, it was quite rare to
hear Camie’s name mentioned alongside the infamous word, but I guess no one was
exempted. I really couldn’t imagine going
anywhere to console anyone when I was the one who needed consoling. It just didn’t seem logical.
I got back home and climbed into
bed with my clothes on. About an hour
later, I jumped up, started throwing things into a large sports bag, ditched my
cellphone, and headed over to Kayla and Wood’s place without even a phone call
to her or my husband. It was somewhat of
an outer body experience. I felt as
though I had been put on a need to know basis, or as if my life had gone on
without me. I had no predictions or
At Kayla’s, I knocked loudly as if they were expecting
me. I hadn’t determined what explanation
I would give for my late unexpected visit nor did I really care to. I was not in a rational state; my body was
hot; my eyes were blood shot; my mind was vacant or maybe vacationing. I was standing there in physical form and none
“Who is it?” I could hear Wood’s voice.
“Aisha” I responded
nonchalantly. I saw the sliding peephole
open and then closed and my entrance was granted.
“Hey Aisha. So, you’re taking the ride with Kayla in the
morning.” Wood talked as he walked back
into the bedroom. I didn’t follow behind
him. I just stood next to the door with
my bag in my hand. A few moments later,
Kayla came out and seemed to instantly notice my condition.
“Aisha, you okay? You look like hell. What happened to you?”
“You said he would. You told me, but I wouldn’t listen.”
I watched as disappointment flooded Kayla’s face. I was wrong.
She didn’t want to be right; she had no desire in saying “I told you
so”. Instead Kayla didn’t utter a single
word, but opened up her arms and pulled me in.
Shortly after, I heard a gentle whisper, “I’m sorry.”