Changing Gene – Ch. 1.3

When Kylisha returned to her desk to pack up for the day, she thought about how her new raise would put her one step closer to getting her own place. One step closer to obtaining the ultimate independence from her oppressive grandparents.

Kylisha had wanted to move out of her grandparents’ home for years. She’d gotten a two-year reprieve when she went off to college right after high school. It had been a sad day when she flunked out and had to move back in with them. That was three years ago. Every day since then had been difficult for Kylisha on the home front.

Interestingly enough, though Kylisha enjoyed her short reprieve from her grandparents, she had not enjoyed where she’d taken that reprieve. In short, she’d hated college.

During her senior year of high school, Kylisha tried to tell her grandparents that she was not college material, that she was more of a trade school girl. But they simply would not listen. Wilford and Jacinta Greene insisted that she go to a four-year institution anyway.

To make matters worse, Kylisha didn’t even get to pick the college she attended. Her grandparents wasted no time enrolling her in the same institution they’d graduated from – Caravell University in southern Florida. They even used their considerable alumni influence to get the admissions director to overlook Kylisha’s mediocre test scores.

Out of obedience to the people that raised her when her parents died, Kylisha left everything and everyone she knew and went to Florida. When she didn’t complete her bachelor’s degree and had to return home, her grandparents deemed her a failure and an embarrassment to their family. They also chided her for wasting their hard earned money.

They’re just mad about having their bragging rights forfeited, Kylisha mused, convinced that that was the root cause behind most of her grandparents’ anger. Why else would they still refuse to forgive her for disappointing them after all this time? For going after her own dream instead of theirs? Why else would they look down on everything Kylisha has tried to do with her life since then?

Kylisha didn’t sit home and bum off her family when she came back three years ago. No, she immediately got a job and enrolled in a reputable two-year technical school. As soon as she graduated, she obtained a better paying job with benefits. In fact, Kylisha made more at her current job than many of her four-year college peers.

But did any of that matter to her grandparents? No. The Greenes looked down on Kylisha’s two-year degree, on her secretarial job and on her dream of one day starting a specialized employment agency for clerical and office personnel.

Nothing I do is ever going to matter to them until I get a bachelor’s degree from Caravell U, Kylisha thought as she organized her desk and filed away last minute items.

I’m glad what I do here matters, Kylisha mused, forcing her mind upon more positive things. After all, had her bosses not been pleased with her, they would have never given her a raise today. A glorious raise!

Kylisha smiled, recalling the proud look in Mitch’s eyes when she reentered the building after driving that truck all day. Suddenly she frowned as her mind pulled up another image to reflect upon. This one was of Gene’s face.

A rush of heat shot through Kylisha’s body as she remembered how intensely and how long he’d stared at her. Usually Gene barely glanced her way. In fact, Kylisha was convinced that up until today he’d seen her as just another piece of boring office equipment – a necessary presence in order to keep the company moving forward.


Today Gene had looked at Kylisha as if she was something to be marveled. She, in turn, had looked at him as if he had suddenly grown another head.

Despite the fact that she found him attractive, Kylisha didn’t want Gene to notice her at all. In the short time she’d worked here, she’d seen enough of the handsome man’s ways to know that it was in her best interest to continue to be seen as a piece of office equipment.

Gene Waldenhall was a playboy if there ever was one. He often went out to lunch with different women three to four times a week. And the phone calls. Kylisha took so many messages from women trying to reach Gene that she now saved them in their own little brown envelope marked ‘miscellaneous calls’.

Kylisha put that brown envelope on Gene’s desk twice daily. She had to make that delivery more than once a day lest the volume alone overwhelm the tidiness of her desk. All messages from females belonging to Gene’s family and women who left business numbers and company names were immediately forwarded to him throughout the day.

I wonder how Mr. Rozier feels about all those female callers, Kylisha mused. Her senior boss had never said anything to her either way. She had no knowledge of him saying anything to Gene on the subject either. At least not in public. Maybe it was because Gene always did his job exceptionally well, despite the number of women in his life.

If the calls and the excessive lunch dates weren’t enough to turn Kylisha off from Gene, the type of women he usually dated definitely was. Every woman she’d ever since with him wore skintight clothes, long sculptured nails, and tons of hair weave. Plus, they all seemed to worship the ground he walked on. Gene, that winning smile of his, and his gift of gab, could probably charm the skin off of a snake if he wanted to.

Well, Kylisha was definitely not a snake. Far from one. In fact, she was a born again Christian and that was just one reason she was so choosey about the men she dated. Another reason was because she’d lost both of her parents to AIDS and thus knew the dangers of being involved with a man leaking control over his flesh. Kylisha’s father had been a playboy, too, often cheating on her mother, and look how badly that turned out.

Kylisha was only eleven years old when she lost both parents within six months of each other. Now she just wanted to live an uneventful life, one free of emotional and physical entanglements. The fact that Kylisha really wasn’t interested in dating anyone made her off-limits to all guys. This included Arnaz – the handsome, muscle bound Christian man that had been steadily pursuing Kylisha since she started working here. If Arnaz didn’t stand a chance with her, then Gene definitely didn’t.

Yep, just call me Kylisha the spinster, she mused good-naturedly, prepared to spend the rest of her life alone; doing the things she loved alone. The key word here being alone.

old lady

As Kylisha went out to her Cadillac sedan, the first drops of rain landed on her long ponytail. Aww…man, it’s going to be another soaker, she thought, already feeling inconvenienced. Especially since she seldom went straight home after work.

After clocking out from her job, Kylisha usually found a movie theater to wind down in and afterwards a restaurant to dine in. This way when she finally made it home at night, her grandparents were already fast asleep in their bed.

If Kylisha didn’t still live with her ornery grandparents, rainy nights like this would be ideal to just stay in bed and watch a DVD while eating a nice, home-cooked meal. The way things were at home now, Wilford and Jacinta constantly came to Kylisha’s bedroom about one thing or the other. At the dinner table they often chose that time to harass her and point out her failures. Therefore, Kylisha made herself scarce as much as possible just to maintain her peace of mind.

One day soon I’ll be able to stay in on a rainy night like this. One day ‘very’ soon, Kylisha vowed as she unlocked the driver’s door of her vehicle and got in.

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