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.
Chapters 14 and 15, Camie Settles In and Girlfriends
A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel Chapters 14 and 15
Camie Settles In
I had no idea when I left Miami on Thursday that by Monday
I would be relocated. Being in Tampa was
like going back in time. My desire to
know my child had brought me here, and surely nothing else could have kept me
here. In recent nights, I hadn’t slept
much. I had too much on my mind. Like how was I going to bridge the gap
between us, and how long it would take?
I also wondered if Hannah would ever be willing to move back with me,
and if not; would I be willing to stay.
I felt overwhelmingly that I was at a crossroad; at a turning point in
my life, and that some holistic shift was taking place. How else could I describe the things that
were taking place? Nowhere in my mind
did I see me coming back home for an extended stay. Never had I planned on coming face to face
with Derek. It wasn’t easy for me to be
here— in a state of not knowing what was to come, and not being able to completely
direct it. I had become well accustomed
to order and certainty. I tried to find
the pleasures in the things I could still control. I mainly focused on furnishing my new apt.
and reaching out to my many clients to inform them of my move. I was also enjoying the thought of decorating
Hannah’s room, but I didn’t want to design something generic. I knew it would only be a sore reminder of how
much I didn’t know about her. Besides, I
wanted her to be at home in the room, and get used to being here with me. Yet, all I could honestly expect was a lot of
resistance and an immeasurable amount of attitude.
The moment I pulled up to Eri’s to pick up Hannah, I felt
butterflies dancing in my stomach, and a sticky moist feeling in my palms. If there was a way I could just back out of
the driveway without adding to Hannah’s disappointment; I would have. But I knew there was no way. I shot a glance to the sky just as I was
about to knock on the door, which was to relay the thought, “please God, please let her not hate me as
Not a second after I did
knock, Hannah came shooting thru the door.
“Hi.” She walked
passed me and headed straight to the passenger door, and I knew I was in for a
challenge. I quickly turned around and
headed back for the car.
“Hi Hannah. So
how’s it going?” I thought to break the silence before it became too difficult.
“Okay.” She answered while texting on what appeared to be
quite an expensive phone. I took note of
the butterfly phone accessory that was dangling from the phone, and I thought
maybe it was a clue into some of her favorite things.
“What station do you like?” I decided to take a risk.
“Any station is good.”
“Which one do you usually listen to?”
“93.9 is pretty cool.”
“Cool. Then that’s
what we’ll hear.
“So, who you chatting with?
“My friend Summer.”
“She goes to school with you?”
“So I was thinking maybe we can grab something to eat and
then maybe do some bowling. What do you
“Isn’t there food at the bowling alley?” Hannah was sharper than I would have expected
a ten year old to be, or maybe I was simply out of touch.
“Yeah but I kinda’ wanted to go somewhere where we can
talk a bit; where we can actually hear ourselves.
“So what do you like to eat?”
“I’m not so picky; plus I ate lunch already.”
“Then maybe we can get some ice cream or a shake or
Hannah stated simply.
“Great, do you know any places nearby?”
Hannah had suggested that we have our ice cream in the
car. I understood why she might have
preferred the car, so I decided to go against my no eating in my car rule.
“So Hannah, I guess I should just come out and ask. Is there anything you want to say to me?”
“Well, I don’t know.
I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
Hannah’s simple honesty was a jewel.
“I promise I can take it.” I said to urge her to share her thoughts with
me, but I didn’t really know if I could.
“Where have you been?”
Her question was bold and hard to answer.
“I’ve been working in Miami; trying to build a better
life. And don’t get me wrong, I know
that I could have visited more often, but it’s just that the last time I was
here, we didn’t seem to have the slightest bond, and I guess it discouraged
me. I felt like I had already missed too
much and that you were comfortable with the family you knew.
“So why are you here now?” I sat listening to my daughter and her
ability to cut strait thru to the guts of the matter.
“Because I realize that I made a mistake. I want to know you and for you to know me.”
“Are you going to leave again?”
“I want us to be a family.” I assured.
“What does that mean?”
Hannah greatly emphasized the word “that”.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to build a
relationship with you. I got an
apartment here, and it has a room just for you.”
eyes lit up.
I need your help to decorate it.”
“I know…we can do butterflies! And maybe a big bed with lots of different
color pillows”…..I sat there in total awe.
Somehow the scale had tipped, and I was actually having a friendly
conversation with Hannah. Her demeanor was lighter and quite airy. The density of the fear and anxiety between
us had evaporated. The only thing frigid
between us, had become our ice creams, and even they were melting rapidly. It was a new day indeed. I listened intently to all the ideas she had
for her room, and began envisioning the space with her in it. It was a welcoming sight that I definitely
looked forward to.
(Narrated by Ketly)
When Aisha finally returned my call, I could tell that
something was really wrong. She wasn’t
her spunky, full of energy, and gutsy self.
She seemed distant and lifeless—like someone had sucked the life out of
her. I needed to see her to properly
gauge the situation. So I convinced her
to meet with me. I told her I had
something really crazy to share with her.
I knew I needed to make it good to get her to meet with me.
When Aisha walked in the door to the lunch diner she
wasn’t in her usual dress. She wasn’t on
as she usually was. Her hair was under a
hat. She had on a pair of oversized
sunglasses. I tried to remember the last
time I had seen her so casual, but it was hard to recall. I waved to her, and she gave a slight
smile. I had asked Raina to look after
Shayne for a couple of hours, and she was happy to oblige.
“Hey girl.” Aisha
gave me a lackluster greeting that was not conducive to the length of time that
had passed since we had last seen each other.
I gave her a pass.
“You look horrible….what’s going on?”
“Don’t really want to talk about it. Give Kayla a call…she’ll fill you in.”
“That’s a new one.”
“Yeah well things are all out of whack. What can I say?”
“Well, whatever it is, you know I have your back.”
“Thanks. I need
that.” Aisha sipped the coffee I had ordered
her, and extended a weak smile.
“So how’s Shayne?
“He’s Great. Just
being a true source of joy. It’s fun
watching him grow and seeing his little personality start to come thru.”
“So is Jeff still moving to Miami?”
“No, but he was here last week.” I heard myself implying that we were still
“So he’s just going to keep traveling back and forth?” Aisha dug.
“To visit Shayne he will.
Jeff and I are not together anymore.”
I finally spat it out and watched it dangle in the air between us.
“Are you serious?”
Aisha’s mouth stayed parted, and she looked like she had seen a ghost.
“I wouldn’t joke about…..” My voice cracked and tears spilled over my
face. I busted into a deep cry, and I quickly
removed myself from the table. Just
moments later, Aisha came into the restroom holding both of our purses.
“Tony gave me an STD.”
She blurted out. “I’m sleeping in
one of my guest rooms, and I don’t know what’s going to happen.” She rested her back against a wall and slid
down to the floor. I understood that
this wasn’t the same “all about me” Aisha trying to trump my woes, but that she
had shown an act of compassion by not allowing me to feel like a fool all
“Is he married?” Aisha continued.
“He swears he isn’t.
Says he don’t know if he can be with just one woman.”
“So he loves you.”
“I suppose, but it doesn’t feel like love.” I said now sitting on the floor with my back
against the opposite wall. Thankfully no
one had walked in on us. Yet, somehow I
didn’t think it would cause us to move.
I think I could speak for the both of us and say we were too weak and broken.
“Well, I’m guessing if he wanted to play you, he’d just
do it, not break up with you.” I didn’t
bother to tell Aisha that I was the one who had ended the relationship.
“I miss him so much.
I didn’t think I could even smile again; I was so hurt. But Shayne somehow keeps me smiling.”
“I know what you mean.
I have cried myself to sleep every night since I found out. I go back to work Thursday, and I don’t know
how I’m going to get by three hours at a time.
I’m just a horrible bag of emotions.”
She said sniffling. Aisha was suddenly unpretentious and unbelievably
open. I had never experienced her quite this
“I never saw this coming.” Aisha continued.
“What did Kayla have to say?” I was awfully curious.
“Sorry. She’s been
really supportive.” Aisha assured.
“So you two are closer.”
“Yeah, it seems so.”
“Well that’s good.
I think we need to all get together.
It’s been so long.”
“Yeah, well Camie just went back home to Tampa. She and Q broke up. It was nasty too.”
“What? What’s in Tampa?”
the hell is going on? Why am I on the
back end of everything?”
“It was a last minute thing. Kayla and I drove up to meet her. She hadn’t been up there in five years, and
Hannah is like not even trying to hear what she’s got to say. She has her work cut out for her. I don’t see how she’s going to bridge that
gap. I’m guessing she’s going to be
there a while. Maybe we can all ride up
“Is it me or does everything looks to be falling apart?” I asked.
“I didn’t want to be the one to say it.” Aisha replied.
“But you know what they say—it’s either falling apart or
falling into place.” I leaned on my
is—it’s out of whack.” Aisha confirmed.