Changing Gene – Ch. 17.1

Kylisha had a horrible day on Monday. It started off on a bad note the moment she learned Gene wasn’t coming in today. It got worse when she realized how much she missed him.

Kylisha didn’t miss Gene in that ‘oh-look-a-beloved -coworker-is-absent-today’ kind of way. No, she missed him in that ‘I-need-to-see -you-everyday-of-my-life’ kind of way.

Too embarrassed to ask Mitch about the nature of Gene’s personal day, Kylisha waited until lunchtime to make inquiry with Deshawn. She wanted to call earlier, but that’s how long it took her to get up the nerve to even show such interest.

According to Deshawn, Gene was definitely not ill today. In fact, he’d been full of life and brimming with excitement when he stopped by the boutique and bought a woman’s dress that morning.

Kylisha’s throat suddenly felt constricted. “He bought a woman’s dress today?” she forced out.

“Yes,” Deshawn replied. A knowing grin graced her face. “He bought one of those beautiful royal blue and gold dresses from the display window. I think he got a pair of gold heels to match, too.”

You could have fried an egg on Kylisha’s steaming forehead after hearing that. She’d seen those dresses. Knew exactly how pricey they were. A man had to feel something special for a woman to spend that kind of loot on her. Who was the special woman in Gene’s life now?

“Ohh…all right then,” Kylisha said with forced calmness. On the inside, jealousy, anger, and grief went off in her like a fireworks display. Yet before she would allow any of that to spill over into her conversation with Deshawn, Kylisha quickly bid her friend farewell and ended the call.


The rest of Kylisha’s day went downhill from there. The copier went out, the fax machine had a nasty paper jam, and the computer software was doing weird things to all of her documents.

Kylisha didn’t figure out the cause of the computer glitch until around 5pm. That’s when it finally dawned on her to question the rest of the office workers in the computer network. It turns out that Rosemary’s use of an old disk was the culprit. Somehow the data on the disk had become corrupted due to poor storage habits.

After explaining to Rosemary the importance of keeping all disks free of dust and excess fingerprints, Kylisha went to the restroom to pray. She also took a couple of pain relievers for her nagging headache.

When Kylisha returned to her desk, she was given an hour reprieve before more drama came her way. This time it came in the form of Arnaz.

“Something wrong?” Kylisha asked, noting the serious expression on his face as he came from the break room area. He’d been the last driver to clock out today. If not for Kylisha, he would have been the last employee to clock out today.

“Yes and no,” Arnaz replied, sitting down on the nearest couch. His shoulders slumped with heaviness.

“Let me clock out first. Then we can talk for as long as you want, okay?” Kylisha said, rising from her seat. As usual, she was ready to be there for a friend in need. Fortunately, she didn’t have to rush right home due to the automatic pet feeder she had for her cat.

“Actually, what I have to stay can be said in under a minute,” Arnaz replied impatiently. He’d been impatient a lot lately.

“O…kay,” Kylisha said hesitantly, leaning against the front of her desk. A sense of dread seized upon her.

“I love you, Kylisha,” Arnaz began, nailing her with a serious stare. “You have my heart and I want to officially lay claim to yours today,” he added, again showing that familiar trait of impatience.

“You love me?” Kylisha swallowed hard. “I think I’m going to need to clock out after all.” Then before Arnaz could say another word, she took off towards the break room.

Right words. Wrong man, kept echoing in Kylisha’s head with each step, each knowing beat of her heart.

© 2006 by Suprina Frazier

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