Kay’s Story (Part Fifteen)

Stop! This is the fifteenth episode!

Looking for the beginning of Kay’s Story?

I’m going to be a mother!

This statement of realization is usually followed by another eight or so months of pregnancy for most women. For Kay, it was her giddy chant as she made her way down the steps of the courthouse. She practically skipped all the way to her car.

The process wasn’t completely over yet, there was still a six month trial period before the adoption could be finalized. But today was the beginning! Today, Destiny Marie was coming home!

At the hospital, Makayla greeted her with a warm embrace. “I knew you could win this! Congratulations. I know you will be a wonderful mother to little Destiny. Here are the release papers. The doctor signed them earlier. You can take your baby home, Miss Kay!” Together, they bundled the baby into her shiny new carrier.

Makayla leaned forward and kissed Destiny’s forehead softly. “You get your happily ever after, Child. It’s about time somebody did.” She straightened up and faced the proud new mother. “Kay, you two come visit me sometime, you hear?” She brushed a happy tear from her face and grinned. “Get outta here, Girl. What are you waitin’ for? You’ve spent more time in here than any healthy person should.”

Kay laughed, scooped up the carrier and started down the hall. “That is for certain. Bye, Makayla! Thanks for everything.”

As she buckled the car seat into her car, tears suddenly sprang to her eyes. “God, thank you for this baby you’ve given me.” She prayed out loud during the short drive home, listening in wonderment to the incredible sound of contented cooing coming from behind her.

 To be continued…


Kay’s Story (Part Fourteen)

Stop! This is the fourteenth episode!

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The store hadn’t been this empty for a long time. No one wanted to be inside on a sunny day like this one. Most people were out, preparing their gardens or fixing fences that had collapsed under the winter’s heavy snowfall. Kay grabbed another case of canned green beans and continued the mundane task of stocking shelves, letting her mind wander.

So far, everything was going according to plan. Sinja, a lawyer who attended the same church as Kay, had agreed to give her pro-bono legal advice. Kay’s apartment was to be approved as a child safe residence, just as soon as the necessary changes were implemented. She had the inspector’s signed report, along with copies of the paperwork from the contractor she’d hired to fix the problem areas.

But deep down, Kay couldn’t help feeling slightly worried. Baby gates, childproof locks, finishing the upstairs loft to create a nursery…. so much to do and so little time or money to do it with.

She soberly addressed the shelving unit, vocalizing the debate in her brain. “True, my friends are wonderful, but part of me just doesn’t like all these people helping. I want to be seen as confident and independent. I want to prove that I can do this myself!”

Ahem. Kay whirled around at the sound of a throat being cleared behind her and found herself staring into the bemused face of a young man who looked to be a maybe eight or so years older than her.

“I’m sorry, can I help you? I was just… I was distracted. Thinking. Out loud.” Kay felt heat rising from the tips of her toes, as tried to make her face look normal.

The stranger’s grin widened. “I figured as much. I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone look at a can of green beans with such a serious and determined glare before. I almost wish I could have waited for the veggie’s reaction.”

Now, Kay’s face was beet red and she was starting to get more than a little annoyed. “Is there something you need?”

“Yes, of course. I’m sorry, here I am teasing you and you don’t even know my name. I’m Jeff and I just moved into the area from out of state. I’m pretty lost, as far as the way things are set up here. I was hoping that you could point me in the direction of the coffee syrup?”

“Coffee syrup??” Kay raised one eyebrow and tried to determine if he was pulling her leg.

“Uh, you know, the stuff you add to milk to make coffee milk. Like chocolate syrup, but coffee flavored. Comes in a brown bottle, about yea high?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thing in my life. I’ll ask my boss, Brian, but you might just be out of luck.”

She shook off her flustered state and put on her customer service persona. “Hold on for one moment, please. I’ll go ask him right now.”

She found Brian in the back room and after listening to a five minute rant that repeatedly made use of the words “jeezum crow” and “crazy flatlanders”, Kay returned with the news that no such thing existed in the store or any of their supply catalogs.

“You’ve really never had coffee milk?”

Now it was Kay’s turn to smirk at his incredulity. “Nope. And amazingly enough, I’ve survived just fine so far.”

“Well, I’ll just have to ask my sister to send me some in the mail and I will personally bring you a glass. Say, I told you my name, but you never mentioned yours.”

She wasn’t sure if he was flirting and momentarily considered ignoring him, but somehow that seemed too rude.

“I’m Kay.” After wiping her dusty palms on her jeans, she reached out for a handshake and inwardly scolded her heart for suddenly beating faster.

To be continued…

Kay’s Story (Part Thirteen)

Stop! This is the thirteenth episode!

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Kay’s mother arrived breathless and exactly half an hour late. Her appearance was impeccable, as usual.  Between the door and her seat she managed to charm Kelly, the waitress, as well as several of the regular customers.

“Kay, Darling. Where’s my hug?” Kay got up from her place and an awkward embrace ensued. The stiffness was palatable and stood as an invisible barrier between them. Somehow her mother’s arms seemed to be trying to pin her down more than comfort her.

They both took a step back and stood looking at each other for a moment. Their eyes met, almost in a challenge. Nothing was said.

Her mother broke the silence briskly. “Well, we’d sit ourselves down and better order. How long do you have before you have to be at work?”

Kay peeked at her watch. “Oh, phooey. I have about twenty minutes. Maybe we’d better get muffins or something quick. Have you ever had the maple walnut pastries? I’ve heard they are insanely good.”

Ten minutes and half a muffin later, Kay cleared her throat. “Mom, I wanted to let you know, I have considered what you had to say the last time we talked. I have prayed, I have researched, I have thought long and hard. I don’t know any other way to say this, so I’ll just say it. I have decided to adopt Destiny Marie. I mean this with full respect, but as an adult, I have made this choice. I want your support and blessing, if you’ll give it, but if you won’t, my decision is still the same.”

She held her mother’s gaze firmly as she spoke.

“Kay, are you sure about this?”

“Yes, Mom. Yes.”

Her mother reached across the table and gripped Kay’s hand in her own. “Well! So, when do I get to see pictures of this new grandbaby of mine?”

Kay’s Story (Part Twelve)

Stop! This is the twelfth episode!

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The mood in The Caffeine Fiend Bookshop Café was bustling with that small-town homey feeling. Smells of coffee and new books wrapped around Kay like an embrace as she shoved open the door.

Clinkchink! A bell hanging from the door handle cheerfully announced her arrival.

After sliding into a table for two near the window, she began flipping through a handcrafted menu. Pen and ink illustrations of cappuccino and muffins danced temptingly in the margins.

A waitress dressed in bell-bottoms and a purple tie-dye top greeted Kay by name. Her half apron was dark blue and embossed with the café’s name. She set a mug on the table and held the coffee pot up in a silent question. “Ooooh, yeah. I need coffee today Kelly!” Kay smiled and yawned reflexively.

“Just you today, Kay?”

Steam swirled as she filled the mug with the boiling fresh brew.

“Nope, actually, my mother should be here anytime. I’ll wait for her to order my food. Is that a new uniform?”

Kelly snorted. “What, my vintage 70s look? Yup, its part of the new “image”, apparently. I guess they are trying to make us more of a tourist-friendly New England hippie joint and less of a faux Starbucks.”

“Really? I like this place just the way it is! Not that you don’t look cute.”

The petite waitress rolled her eyes and shrugged. “It could be worse, right? Well, I’ll be back when your mom gets here. Holler if you need a refill.”

Kay  glanced at her watch and sighed. Her mom was late. Her fingers curled themselves around her cup and she stared dreamily out the window. The street was fairly empty. A few children were chasing each other on the sidewalk as their tired looking mothers looked on and tried to hold a conversation.

Busy. That word didn’t even begin to describe the blur of activity planned for this day.

When she called to make an appointment earlier, it had turned out that Kay knew the Childsafe inspector. They had been playing together since they were both in diapers and he was a relative of some sort. She never had been able to figure out exactly how he fit into her tangled family tree, but she could vividly remember the ridiculous swimming trunks he’d worn to the last family reunion several years back. After some good-natured teasing and catching up, he offered to bump her to the top of the list.

That must have been a sign of some sort, because everything from there on out went very quickly. Kay’s boss even said she could have some extra time during her lunch break, so that she could run home for the inspection. That appointment was set for 1 pm.

Then, right after work, a construction contractor from her church was coming over to do an estimate turning the unfinished attic into a baby’s room.

This, however, was the part of the day she’d been dreading most of all. Not only did she have to try to patch things over with her mom from their last phone call, somehow she also had to tell her that she was proceeding with the adoption. Just the thought of the upcoming conversation was enough to tie her stomach in tight twisting knots.

To be continued…

Writing Kay’s Story

For those of you checking into my blog hoping to see the latest episode of Kay’s Story: I’m sorry.

I promise that a new installment will make its appearance soon!

For now, I thought I’d share a bit of the journey behind this serial story.

This project began as a fun creative writing project. I thought would only go on for five entries, at the very most.

I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl in pigtails. I would spend hours staring at a single page of math homework. My imagination would soar high above the dullness of the immediate and take wing among clouds of “what ifs”.

When I was in first grade, I faithfully watched every episode of the shortlived TV show, “Christy”. Occasionally, the static on Channel 3 overcame my devoted persistence and my grandparents would have to mail me a taped copy of the missed segment on VHS tape. Those tapes were played so many times that they nearly wore out.

One in particular, “Babe in the Woods”, absolutely fascinated me. A young mother abandoned her baby and Christy, my heroine, found the baby and soon fell in love. One thing always made my young fists ball up in frustration when the credits rolled at the end; Christy gave up the baby. It was sensible, it was selfless, it was endlessly enraging!

My favorite “what if” to ponder became “What would I do if I ever found an abandoned baby?”

Over the years, my fantasy grew and changed. Then, I entered my adult years and got married. For a while, the old “what if” laid dormant…until one morning this past month.

I sat before an empty word document, the cursor blinking on a fresh white page and I asked once more;

What if?

This story is stretching me, making me question what I believe is right. I’m delving into my heart and  asking hard things.

What thin line separates maternal instinct and selfishness?

What drives a human being making a life changing decision?

Is single parenting a healthy answer to the adoption crisis?

How much do I let the opinion of the people around me mold my own choices?

What would I be willing to give up?

There, that’s a glimpse into my cluttered brain. I hope that maybe it will make you ponder with me.

Signing off for now,

Toni L.A. Cross