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.
My meetings with Dr. Kat were getting easier. I still thought in advance about where she
would lead me and how I would react. Mostly,
I thought about the question she asked me on my first visit, “why was I there”. Initially, I thought it was about my sexual
desires, but more and more as the weeks went by, I could clearly see that I was
there for much more reason. I guess it’s likely to assume that our past
would get further and further away from us, as time naturally created space and
distance. Yet, somehow in my
subconscious mind, time was just time.
I couldn’t help
but to notice, that on more than one occasion, when I was leaving Dr. Kat’s
office, she had called in a woman with the last name Johnson. Given that Johnson had been my original
maiden name, I would always think of my father when I heard the name.
Today when I stepped out into the large waiting area, which
served as a nucleus for what were many adjoining offices, the woman was sitting with a young girl. All of a sudden, without a doubt, I knew that
she was Nora. How our individual orbits
had directed us both to Dr. Kat Shepherd, I did not know. As I made the dreadful realization, my heart
began to pound fast and hard. I tried to
get a look at my sister without staring or making a fuss. I’d probably been able to go undetected
because Nora only knew me as Kayla Ross, and not Mrs. Singletary, which the
receptionist always used to address me. From
what I could tell, Kaylin was about eight or nine. She looked like any other ordinary child. Her nails and toes were painted with gold sparkles.
Her skin was beautiful and rich
looking. She certainly resembled my
father, but I could see that her eyes were more like Nora’s, and not large and
piercing like the ones I had inherited.
I felt a strong urge to introduce myself, but it would be too awkward,
so I proceeded down the long hall towards the elevators. When I got to my car, I sat for a while
trying to figure out if I was jumping the gun, or if this really was some out
of this world coincidence. I checked the
time. I wasn’t due to be at the salon
for another hour and a half. I wasn’t
sure how long Nora’s session would last, but I considered waiting to speak with
her. I could not help myself. Something within me was saying, do it
now. Speak to her now!
I’d returned a couple of calls, and spoken briefly to
Camie. Just about forty-five minutes later,
I spotted the two coming out from the building.
There was a seeming distance between the two that I detected and
understood. It wasn’t that they were
standing far apart, but there was a kind of cold shoulder between them, and maybe
even more. Kaylin was holding a small
tablet with ear plugs extending to her ears.
In my time, there was no such device that could provide me my own world
so to speak, I thought as I likened her to myself at that age.
I quickly exited the car, and began approaching Nora and the
young girl I assumed to be Kaylin. I
could see Nora instantly take notice, and she then stopped with a certain level
of concern. Surely, she had recognized
me from the Dr.’s office, but I suppose her question was why I was approaching
her, and perhaps more concerning… why I had waited back. Nora was dense in body; not overweight in fat
or anything like that, but perhaps overweight in spirit and body density. She wasn’t the type of woman you could just push
over. Obviously, she was an up-front
kind of person, and probably wouldn’t mind my approaching her this way. After all, she did make her demands of me
quite clear. However, Nora did seem to
think I owed her something, and that was the part I hadn’t come to terms
“Kaylin, go to the car.”
Nora handed over her car keys and Kaylin reacted swiftly.
“Can I help you?”
She then turned her attention back onto me. I was now within an arm’s length of the
commanding woman, who appeared to be no one’s fool.
Kayla. I couldn’t help but wonder if you
were Nora Johnson.” I said with a
pleasant and honest voice.
“Is that right?”
Nora looked shocked.
“Yeah, I know. I
thought it quite shocking myself. It’s
just the name Johnson and the young girl… I seemed clear.” I explained.
“Then you received my letter. Correct?”
“I did. Yes
ma’am.” I answered.
“Good. Then we’ll
need to have a sit down. As you know,
I’m seeking professional counsel, but I think it would be helpful for you and
my daughter to maybe meet, and talk a bit.”
Nora continued to take charge.
She was unique and I began to draw a contrast between her and my
mother. It made me curious about what exactly
had led my father to her.
“Mrs. Johnson.” Nora corrected me.
Mrs. Johnson—I just don’t know how helpful I would be. Perhaps she should continue with the sessions
“I understand your concern Kayla,
but I think both would be useful. Let
you and I talk a bit first, under different circumstances, and we’ll go from
there.” Nora was not taking no for an
answer, and I felt the weight of her age, experience, and perhaps even her
status, strong arming me into submission.
“Okay.” I heard myself respond to my step mother.
“Great. Then we’ll be in touch.” Nora concluded the discussion. We exchanged numbers, and I returned to my
car. I found myself in a state of
limbo. I was still trying to wrap my
head around the whole thing. I suddenly
felt strongly, that I was being puppet mastered. First the demand of my mother from her death
bed, then Wood’s implication that I get help, and now Nora’s insisting that I
meet with Kaylin. My life was now a
series of actions other people thought I should make. I wondered when I had unknowingly swapped my
role as boss for bullied.