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Urban Rhapsody: The Love Song of Cyan and Kendall (Serial Story#2)

cyan & kendall

Click the following link if you would like to read the first installment, told from Kendall’s point-of-view, before you continue with Cyan’s story written below.



I had no compassion for my daughter, Kendall.

It exited stage left six years ago after a near-fatal car accident, the shards of the windshield glass piercing my body.  The scars healed into a haphazard pattern of Orion’s belt.

Kenny, my late husband and Kendall’s father, used to stare up at the night sky on humid summer nights and pick out the constellations.  It’s funny how on the night he steered our car into a path of oncoming traffic on I-4, with Kendall crying out for help in the back seat, Orion’s constellation was the last thing I saw before my consciousness flickered out.

Orion must have shot his arrow through our car’s windshield.

Kenny wasn’t quite right in the head when he came back from Afghanistan.  I knew it, but I tried to love it out of him. I couldn’t love the craziness out of him, so I gave up on loving.  It was overrated, just like Kendall’s ranting and raving over me going out.

Now that I thought about it, her behavior was reminding me of Kenny.  But she was no war veteran.  She was just a thirteen-year-old, trying to be too fresh and smell herself. I slid my cigarette between my lips and blew a cloud of smoke into her face, daring her to speak, forcing her to move back.

Kendall coughed and leaned against the armoire.  Her chest heaved in huffs.

I repeated my question.   “When did you get grown?”

Kendall regained her breath and said, “A year after Dad’s death when you left me home alone for two weeks.”  She pointed to the long, black burn mark that began at her hand and wrapped around her forearm. Kendall said,  “Little kids should get nicks and scratches from playing outside, not playing house.”

I didn’t have time for this.  I pried Jamila’s claws from digging into my ankles and tossed her on the bed and moved back in front of the mirror. I smoothed down my side-swept bang with hair gel and pinned the middle section of my hair into a beehive hump.  “You survived. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and teaches you to fend for yourself.”

That’s what I wished my parents would have done for me.  We stayed in one of those subdivisions in Southeast Orlando off Curry Road not too far from Lake Underhill.  My parents sent me to a private school and gave me the best of everything in life.  I had no responsibilities.  I was an only child, and their wish for me was to go to college and make something out of my life.  I fell in love with Kenny and got pregnant at seventeen.

Kenny and I got married at the courthouse, and he entered the U.S. Navy shortly after graduation. I dropped out of high school and became a Navy wife living on the base.  I depended on him for everything.  If I had thought about myself, I wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital fighting for my life. I wouldn’t have ended up here.

Kendall rocked Jamila in her arms.  She looked like a younger version of me, those nights when Kenny was out to sea, a child trying to quell the cries of a colicky newborn, the blind leading the blind.  Jamila drifted off to sleep. Kendall propped two pillows on the bed with one hand and laid the two-year-old on top of them with the other.

The corner of the picture frame hanging above the bed poked Kendall in the forehead as she stood up. She brushed her fingers along the blown-up, black-and-white photograph of her and me.  We took the picture and sent it to Kenny a month after she was born.  He was such a proud papa when the boat pulled into port, waving that 3×5 in his hand and rushing us the next day to the neighborhood photographer’s studio to get it done the way it hung on my wall now.

I heard three short beeps of Ray’s car horn followed by one loud, drawn-out one.  Loverboy is quite the impatient one.

I opened my Louis Vutton purse, the one my gentleman caller downstairs gave me, straightened out the crumpled $20 bill and said, “ Kendall, it is almost 11p.m.  Get Troy off that devilish Xbox and send him to the store up the street.  Get some of that honey ham lunchmeat, a loaf of bread and anything else you can think of to hold all of you until I come back tomorrow.”

I could have sworn that I heard Kendall sniffle.  She hasn’t cried since the day of the accident. Kendall yanked the photo down and smashed it against the nightstand. Here we go, I thought, more theatrics before I head out.  I said, “Kendall, have you lost your mind?”

Kendall snatched the money out of my hand and stormed out of the room and said, “No, only my mother.”

Before I could catch her, she had already slammed and locked her bedroom door.  I said, “You better have that mess cleaned up before I get back.”

As I sat in the passenger seat, I immediately forgot about what just happened and who I was. The way I had always dealt with my life.

Copyrighted and All Rights Reserved to Alexandra Caselle.  This is an original young adult story.


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Urban Rhapsody: The Love Song of Cyan and Kendall ( Serial Story #1)

cyan & kendall


He cradled my face into the curve of his neck, filling my nose with his Escape cologne.  Our bodies swayed in sync to the slow jams being played in Houlihan Middle School’s gym.  This had to be the most perfect night of my life.  He casually lifted my chin.

My girls, Arisha, Kemba, and Nia eyed me with so much jealousy.  I smirked with my signature half-grin because I had it like that.  Kendall always dealt with the finest in everything.

The guy brushed my hair back behind my ears and moved his lips closer and closer.  I remained calm, even though inside, I was mentally checking to see if those breath mints kicked halitosis to sleep and if my cherry-flavored lip gloss still painted my thin lips.

Goosebumps scaled my spine.  I couldn’t believe it.  My first kiss.  And it would be from my favorite hip hop singer.  My mind screamed with anticipation. My arms wrapped tightly around his neck and my face as cool as a cucumber because I had to represent myself as a sophisticated young lady.

Okay, it was about to happen.  I braced myself for the impact.  My girls told me that kissing a boy made the earth shake.  The bile in my stomach was the only thing moving.

He slipped further and further away from me as blood curdling wails erupted from Jamila’s mouth, awakening me from my deep slumber.  It’s amazing how her two-year old lungs could expel so much air and noise.  I threw back the covers and grimaced.

That little twerp interrupted my dream. Her cries pierced the air again.  “No go, Mama!”

My fists clenched against my waist.  Cyan must be packing her overnight bags for one of her weekend trips.  It figures.  We do not see eye-to-eye on everything.  I wondered if the same guy I met last month would accompany her this weekend.  It’s always a different one.

Don’t get me wrong.  My mom was not one of those chicken heads with a sparse head of hair brushed up in one ponytail with gold teeth in her mouth and four-inch fingernails.  She did work double shifts at Walmart during the week and took pride in her looks.

Cyan just didn’t have her priorities straight.  She always came first, leaving me behind to serve as a surrogate mother to my younger sister and brother.  I cooked their meals, wiped their noses, washed everyone’s clothes, and nursed cuts.

It’s bad enough that she travels so frequently, but it broke the little ones’ hearts because they needed their mom.  Even though I’m growing up, I needed her, too.

I stormed into my mama’s bedroom and saw Jamila’s arms locked around my mama’s legs.  Tears streamed down her face and landed on her nightgown.

Cyan, oblivious to her pleading, gazed in front of the mirror and applied her makeup. “Jamila, get off me.  No need to cry because I ain’t staying.”

She lined her eyes and smacked her lips as she winked with approval.  She could at least comfort the girl.  That was what normal mothers do, for crying out loud.

I said, “Why don’t you stay home sometimes?”

My mama angled her body in front of mine.  The scent of nicotine tickled my lungs.  “A little ‘me’ time.  Can I get that, Kendall?”

A burst of adrenalin robbed me of my common sense. I straightened my back and matched my mom’s gaze with one of my own. “Can I get a little time to be a thirteen-year-old, Cyan?”

My mother said, “I see we are on a first-name basis, now.  When did you become grown?”

Judging by her response, I knew I had crossed the line of respect with her.  Part of me prayed that I could make it through the rest of the night with my life.  The other part didn’t care.

Copyrighted and All Rights Reserved to Alexandra Caselle.  This is an original young adult story.

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