Chapter Nine I

Master Kim often encouraged Chris to open another branch of the school, one for women only. While he always encouraged women to join, and tolerated none of the macho atmosphere that prevailed at some schools, he wondered if even more women might participate if it was a woman’s only class. Chris found a place near our Perry St. condo she thought would suit her needs. It was on the third floor of a three story warehouse with room for a sizeable dojang, and ample space to build a small office, locker room, bathroom and showers. She planned an additional area for a gym with quality machines and free weights. Being able to have her own gym where she works is a plus. Women who wanted to add some resistance exercise, a treadmill, or elliptical training to their martial arts regimen could do it with one membership. Chris decides to have classes one afternoon, three nights weekdays and one Saturday morning. Students would have a card that let them in during off hours if they want to work out. The dojang is separated from the equipment, locked up and off limits unless a class was on. Students can access machines twenty four hours a day.
Susan, “I’m going to put student’s fees on check or credit card drafts. Kim spends too much time chasing down people for fees. And I think the fee should cover everything.”
Chris, “What do you mean?”
Susan, “Now he charges for instruction, then he has to collect a separate fee for rank tests. It should be one monthly fee. It’s always a big hassle to collect rank test fees, people want to put it off being tested partially because of the fee. We need to cut that out. We test every two months for lower belts. If they can’t make the test, they’ll have to wait for the next one and keep paying the monthly charge.”
Chris, “Should we include the uniform in the price?’
Susan, “I thought about it. We make them all wear the same style uniform, they have to buy it from us. But what if they quit in two months? It happens, they decide Taekwondo isn’t for them, they leave. We haven’t recouped the uniform cost.”
Chris, “And we can’t take it back, I don’t want to get into that hassle. All right, one fee it is, they buy the uniform up front like now.”
Susan, “I’ve got another idea. I want to create a website that covers everything a student needs, additional uniforms, pads and other martial arts equipment, books and DVDs. Members get access to a members only area with notices of events at the school, upcoming rank tests, and additional training information.”
Chris, “Dang. We going to open a martial arts store?”
Susan, “No. It will all be links to Amazon, except our uniforms. We get a small percentage of the sales price. It’s not much, but we have no inventory tied up, don’t have to deliver anything. It’s more a convenience for the students.”
Chris, “That’s very cool. Kim might want you to do it for him. He’s kind of set in his ways though.”
Susan, “If he wants to simplify things, he’ll go for it. Let him see ours. If he decides he likes it, it’s easy enough to duplicate for his school.”
“I think you should have all the classes live on a webcam. Students could log in from anywhere. Like if they were traveling, or on vacation. They could take a class from their hotel room.”
Susan, “Yeah…..yeah! That’s a good idea, Daphne. It doesn’t cost us anything. Some people might join that wouldn’t if they had to attend classes at the school all the time.”
Chris, “What if they don’t come to the school, and just say they’ve taken classes from home?”
Susan, “They have to pass rank tests live and in person. If they can’t demonstrate the requirements, they don’t advance.”
Chris thought about it, couldn’t find a hole in the logic, “Then when you’re finished with the other web stuff, do a webcam. Wait, we’re not giving classes free on the web are we?”
I laughed, “Chris needs to enter the world of cyberspace more often.”
Chris looked at her, “What are you talking about? I’m not a frigging web designer, that Susan’s thing. So explain.”
Susan, “She means the student has to log in. Like to get to their account. Only after that can they see the webcam. If they give away the log-in to a friend, they would be giving out their account information as well.”
Chris, “How the hell does Daphne know that? She’s ten. How do you know this crap at ten? Both of you are spooky.”
Susan, “And you are going to start writing taekwondo instruction books.”
Chris, “What? I don’t know from writing a training book.”
I said, “You know everything there is about taekwondo, mom. Just sit down at the computer and start doing a mind dump. I’ll help you organize it. I know you can use a keyboard, you already noodle around with writing a novel.”
Chris, “That’s just for fun, not a real book. It’s something to do besides work out and run classes.”
Susan, “Just start. Describe training from your perspective. We’ll follow along as you get material written. It’ll be a family project, and keep you out of trouble.”
Chris smiled, she was warming to the idea already, “Okay, I’ll do it. You two better make me look good. I’m going to make some notes. I make notes for my story ideas. That works okay, so I’ll make notes for this.”
I looked at Sis, “Notes.”
Susan giggled, “She’s going to make notes.”
Chris, “Don’t make fun of me. I’m a taekwondo Master, I’ll pulverize you. Instead of being flip, Daphne, be useful and make coffee, then bring me some. I have some ideas, I want to make some notes before I forget.”
“I’m on it.”
A few minutes later I bring Chris a fresh cup with a post-it note stuck on the side. It says, ‘coffee.’
Chris looks at the cup, glares at me, “Go away.”

Chapter Ten I

 If prostitution is illegal, why isn’t being a politician?
    Daphne Sylk


I stay busy, there is regular school, the new taekwondo school, plus, I’m a neat freak, I like our home pristine. I cook, Chris does most of the grocery shopping from my lists. Then there is taekwondo class, and I practice at home the other days. Setting up Chris’ new school and gym took a fair amount of our time.
We avoided cannibalizing Master Kim’s school by only taking twenty five students initially. Some of them transferred over from Kim’s, but he has a waiting list for members and Chris needs a couple of the black belt females to help at her place. After a bit of initial shuffling of members, things settled and both places are running smoothly. Kim took one look at Susan’s website and asked her to put his place on the same program. He is set in his training methods, but he isn’t bullheaded about both simplifying his life and making more money by reorganizing his business practices.
We stay so busy, I had just hit eleven when it finally occurred to Sis to ask about my social life, “I like school just fine, the kids are nice. There are one or two “attitude” girls, I ignore them. I just don’t care about what interests girls my age. I don’t have a clue who the latest hottie guy is, I don’t watch CW, MTV, listen to radio and I’m only fashionable because of you, I’d buy jeans and sneakers. I don’t like to chat on the cell, I don’t text, all that ‘who loves who’ stuff is boring. I have no clue why I’d want to be paling up with people I never heard of on Facebook, like I care how cute their cat is, or where they ate last night. I like doing what we do. My life is here. I like martial arts and cooking. I’m expanding my culinary skills, learning Asian, Mexican and French dishes. That’s my idea of fun.”
I add, “Besides, there’s going to be something else in my life soon, it’s getting stronger now. No, I’m not losing it. We have to wait. I have to wait. You have to wait. All God’s children got to wait. Maybe I should write a song. In the meantime, please don’t waste energy mommying. I’m so happy I could spit Pentium 700s.”
Susan, “So I don’t have to worry about making perfect cupcakes and how much I should spend on your birthday extravaganzas with all your friends?”
“You don’t have the slightest idea of how to make cupcakes. I’d say get the ones from Magnolia Bakery, but I don’t like that mushy foam they call icing. That’s one line I won’t need to stand in again. I can make better cupcakes with Betty Crocker, some confectioner’s sugar and a hand blender. I love the Village, but New Yorkers think if you have to wait on line there must be something special going on. And if you have to pay three times what it’s worth, even better.”
I pop into the kitchen and begin making breakfast. It is the second half of the weekend, so I do an extravaganza of biscuits, creamy grits, soft scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. After breakfast, we settle on the couch to check out the Sunday morning news programs.
I wonder about Bush, “Shouldn’t the President be able to pronounce nuclear? Don’t they have to take some kind of test or something?”
Chris, “Yeah, the test involves how much money they can raise. The other qualifications are vague.”
Susan pokes me, “You could grow up to be President according to Ms. Alva.”
“President Sylk. It’s just not me, moms. Somebody else cooks for you and I’d have to dress like a maiden aunt with a bad perm.”
Susan, “You also couldn’t blurt out anything that popped into your head.”
“Then I’m definitely not running.”
Chris, “America’s loss.”
Susan, “So, do you have a vision for your future? I mean, after your vision becomes real?”
“Not a clue, Sue. I can’t imagine not doing martial arts, or not cooking. I’m not seeing them as a career. Maybe it’s too soon, I don’t know, I never think of myself in the future.”
Chris, “I don’t know when you’d have time. Geez, if you aren’t practicing, you’re in school, then at the dojang, and in between you’re visiting with every human being in the neighborhood, and all the dogs. Every second person in the Village has a damn dog.”
“I have to talk to the dogs. They live cooped up in an apartment and get a half hour now and then to walk outside. I’d never have an animal in the city myself. But since they’re stuck here, I think I should be nice to them.”
Susan, “You may be the only girl in town with dog biscuit crumbs in your jeans pockets.”
“It’s great, I give them a treat and a pat, they’re happy. I don’t have to listen to stories about what they bought yesterday, or want to buy tomorrow, or text them, or hear about their oppressive and nosy mothers. I can’t relate, I don’t have oppressive and nosy mothers. We must have missed parent-child relationship training. You don’t have nearly enough rules, I have nothing to act out against.”
Susan, “If you want more rules, you have to do your part. You need to quit telling us what you’ve been doing before we ask. You need to hide in your room, throw piles of clothes all over the place and sneak out instead of volunteering up front where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Oh, and when I call you, you need to quit answering your phone and start making me leave four or five messages first.”
“I’ll think about it. It sounds like a lot of work just to create drama. Maybe, just once in a while, I’ll leave my jeans on the floor and you can huff and puff and give me a ‘Listen, young lady’ speech. You know, where you tell me how you spend all day working to give me all the wonderful things I have and I show no appreciation whatsoever and that I have an inflated sense of entitlement and how I have it a million times better than you ever did. I mean, you did have a sucky childhood. Couldn’t you beat me over the head about it once in a while?”
Sis, “I suppose, but my sucky childhood got me you, Chris, and we met Ms. Alva. Now I work for myself, Chris treats me like royalty, you make great food and I make great money.”
Chris, “See, that’s called perspective. Best I can do is tell you about the time my dad and I threw a guy off a balcony. It wasn’t that dramatic, it was only one floor, and he landed in a pile of sand. By the time we got down there, he’d run away.”
Susan, “What’d he do to irritate you?”
Chris, “He was one of the plumbers. He kept hitting on me, when I blew him off he said something about fuckin’ lezzy.”
Susan, “That would have done it.”
“How rude. Seems fair that he tripped and fell off the balcony after being so insensitive.”
Chris smiled at me, “That’s exactly what dad said happened when the guy’s boss showed up later asking questions.”
Susan, “Nothing came of it?’
Chris, “Dad explained what the plumber did. The plumber’s boss said it should have been from the tenth floor, not the second. He apologized to me and took us to dinner. I was only sixteen, but we got shit faced anyway. Dad was fairly liberal about drinking. He and dad became good friends.”
“Oh well, so much for my adolescent angst. I couldn’t leave my jeans on the floor anyway. It would drive me crazy before you even noticed.”
Susan, “I guess I could try lecturing you for being too neat. But since I used to clean houses, it’s seems hypocritical.”
Chris, “I’m not neat, I’m not a slob, but I’m not in a hurry to put everything away. My problem is, I leave stuff out and by the time I get around to it, somebody’s already washed it and hung it up.”
“The laundry fairy, Tinker-Sylk. Which reminds me, I need to put the sheets in the dryer.”

Chapter Eleven I

 Student, "What do I do to get really good?
Chris, "How much pain can you stand and how long can you stand it?"


Sis and I earn our black belts just before I’m twelve. We tested together. It is the first time Chris had granted the belt to a mother and daughter at the same time, Kim didn’t recall it happening during his long career either.
Chris said the day after the test, “Underneath the stern demeanor, I think he is fascinated by your prowess and focus, particularly at such a young age, and in America. Your kind of student popped up maybe once in a decade in Korea. In America, it is unheard of. Too many distractions, too much wealth, children get way too much for way too little effort in Kim’s mind. I remember his bafflement by how, in America, children get a gold star for attendance−−just showing up! That kind of simplistic misguided absurdity is completely beyond his Korean mindset. She told me about his conversation with both moms, shortly before the rank test.
Kim, “Daphne does well in school?”
Chris, “She’s an A student.”
Kim, “Very good. She spends so much time here or at Sabum Chris’ school, then she practices at home as well?”
Susan, “All the time.”
Kim, “She has friends?”
Susan, “She gets along with the kids, I couldn’t say she’s friends with them.”
She told him I didn’t care to hang out, or do sleepovers, “We asked her and she said they are too 'little girl.' Too much boys, television, and texting gossip. She has no interest in those things. One of her teachers told me she was with the girls and not with them.”
Kim inquires, “What does she mean?”
Chris, “I asked the teacher that. She said a couple of girls told her that Daphne sits with them if they’re talking about classes, school subjects, that kind of thing. They said she leaves to go study when the subjects turn to boys, gossip or family drama. She’s just not interested. I had to laugh when the teacher said the girls think she’s a nerd. They obviously don’t know about her martial arts.”
Kim is quiet for a time, then he makes up his mind, “Daphne is unique in our art. She is always prepared, teaches the others, and she has skills well beyond her rank. I want to see, with your permission, if I might do additional work with her. Do you think she would have an interest, but more importantly, will it hurt her grades or other activities in any way?”
Chris, “She will be delighted. Susan gets final call, but, if she agrees, Daphne will do handsprings in excitement.”
Susan, “Master Kim, it is generous of you to offer. I don’t know what to say. Daphne was clearly born to do this. It’s actually her decision, not mine. I can’t imagine her declining.”
Kim, “I will meet her at Chris’ school on Wednesdays, an hour before classes start.”
I didn’t do a handspring, but I am ecstatic. I had worked hard, and am now getting a chance to learn one on one with Master Kim. Not that Chris is any slouch, she is after all a fifth degree, the highest earned rank in taekwondo. Master Kim would, however, be focusing on hapkido, the Korean judo similar to aikido, and advanced weapons skills, short stick, long stick and nunchucks, the two batons connected by a chain popular in martial arts movies.
Kim tells me in his usual blunt way, “You are going to take on extra hours each week, I know you already spend a lot of time in the dojang. I expect you to keep up your grades at school.”
Koreans prize both education and family. Kim’s heritage wouldn’t let him simply assume I would be diligent in school. He wanted me to commit to that directly, knowing I was bound to honor a promise to my instructor.
“I will, Master Kim. School is no problem. I would be spending the time doing taekwondo anyway, even if you weren’t teaching me the new things. Martial arts makes regular school easier, not harder. If parents understood, they would all send their kids to good martial arts instructors. Parents think it’s all about fighting. They don’t understand.”
Kim nods, “You’re going to get thrown a lot, you don’t mind?”
“Sounds like fun.”
Kim growls, “We’ll see when you hit the mat. You’re going to get some bruises and bumps.”
I shrug, “Pain is the price of excellence; the pain of tedium, studying, the physical pain of becoming a superb athlete in any sport. If a gymnast quit every time she got a sprained ankle or busted toe, she wouldn’t be in the Olympics.”
Kim smiles, just a little, “I’m going to start carefully. If you catch on and learn how to deal with twisted arms and to fall properly, the pace will pick up. I don’t want you to get hurt. However to learn, you need to accept getting knocked around.”
“I can do it.”
“Just try not to hurt your mom and Sabumnim Chris.”
“I’ll go easy on Sis, Chris is tough as nails already.”
“True. It’ll be good practice for you to try and deal with her.”
In the next two months, after I absorb the basics, more lifelike practice begins. Kim increases the intensity slightly each class for the following three months, and we start meeting twice a week.
He told Chris there apparently is no limit to the amount I can absorb when it came to martial arts. It hurt like hell; I would never let him know it. Learning the moves, on the other hand, is as natural as walking.
His normal blank gaze changes briefly to amusement when he sees Chris and Susan come into class with sore wrists, complaining about bruised backsides, Chris says, “Daphne has been wearing us out with practice, she already has a full contact sparring session with either Susan or me once a week. She is stunningly efficient, there’s no, zero, wasted motion.”
Sis asks me, “You let Chris and I tag you all the time, I know you can dodge the kicks, so what are you doing taking hits?”
“Staying in touch.”
“With what? Getting kicked? Do you find yourself fascinated by leather?”
“Very funny. Conan called, can you do the show next week?”
Chris, “She has a good reason to let herself get tagged once in a while, baby. It makes sense.”
“Splain it to me, Lucy.”
I answer, “Sooner or later, someone who does what we do is going to get hit, hit hard. I need to stay in touch with how that feels, so it’s not some surprise that throws off my focus. It’s great to have good reflexes, but if I do get tagged, I want to know it won’t kill me, that I can keep fighting.”
“So you let Chris smash you because she couldn’t if you didn’t let her.”
“She could always get lucky I suppose,” I wink at Chris, “if I always avoided, I’d never know how a whap to the ribs felt.”
Susan, “She never hits me hard. How does it feel?”
“It hurts. Be glad she likes you, C-mom is very powerful.”
Susan eyes Chris, “You’re beating up our baby?”
“I don’t hit you because I care for you; I smack Daphne, when she lets me, because I care for her. That’s as philosophical as I get.”
“You’re both screwy.”

Chapter Twelve I

 Who decided at six years old, first grade, seven second, eight third?
Who decided all children of a certain age have to take the same subjects?
A curriculum should be designed for the student, not the convenience of teachers and administrators.
                  Lacy Chapman


At age nine, Janah Svensson started at Chapmans, a private school in Manhattan for highly gifted girls. The Head of School and sole owner is Lacy Chapman. Lacy is reticent by nature and would not begin to really know Janah until her second year. She had enrolled Janah, who, by age, would have been in the fourth or fifth grade, her birthday in December. Chapmans began at what most American schools call the seventh grade. At Chapmans however, there are twelve year olds doing high school work, and girls Janah’s age already enrolled in seventh or eighth grade. Chapmans places girls by capability, not years on earth. Lacy knew, of course, that she had the luxury of not having students who were behind grade level. Her school wasn’t designed for that.
Despite little personal contact, Lacy watched Janah’s academic progress in year one. There was no academic progress. She had perfect scores on the tests they administered, which were designed to see if, at her age, she could handle seventh grade courses. When it was evident she could, she was admitted. What they didn’t do was test her for upper school courses. After she blew through all the assignments, and demonstrated knowledge and capability far beyond her test scores, the school signed her up for the SAT and the Chapman’s graduating final exams. She had perfect scores on both, Janah was ten years old. For the first time in Lacy’s career, she had a student for whom her school could do nothing. Lacy decided to call Janah’s parents for a conference prior to the start of her second year.
Dr. James Svensson and Kara Svensson, seated in Lacy’s office, waited to hear what Ms. Chapman had to say. She called the prior week and asked if they might be able to meet with her regarding Janah’s work in the upcoming year. James trusted Lacy from his own observation and Kara’s appraisal. The fact that Janah was content was testament to the atmosphere she created at Chapmans.
James studied the headmaster. She is tiny, five three he guessed, in heels. Her eyes were bright, an unusual shade of light green, She wore her naturally blond hair closely cropped. She had on a snug black skirt, worn just above the knee, heels emphasized a very nicely turned calf. When she moved, he thought of a dancer, perhaps a gymnast; his instinct was accurate.
Lacy, “Thanks for coming in. I have some questions as to how we can best work with Janah. After reviewing her test scores and talking with her instructors, it’s clear we have less to offer her than perhaps she has to offer us.”
James, “Sounds like a compliment.”
Lacy, “Oh yes, it is. We have a remarkable group of young women at Chapmans. We offer them an unparalleled opportunity. Once they master the basics, they can work completely unrestricted in areas specific to their interests. Our basics, of course, are other school’s advanced programs. I’m fortunate to be able to skim the cream of highly intelligent young females in New York. They bring a lot to our school. We, in turn, strive to provide a unique educational environment. However, in my experience, both in Philadelphia and here in Manhattan, I have yet to meet a student that I believe is beyond the school’s instructional capability. Which brings us to Janah. She far exceeds basic educational fundamentals. She can handle calculus, chemistry, biology and physics past any level we teach here. She absorbs everything instantaneously and, consequently, simply sits in class quietly. She’s certainly not disruptive, just the opposite. I fear we’re boring her. May I ask, does she wish to go to college? I can get her in anywhere you want, not that she needs me to say much.”
Kara, “We asked, she says no.”
James, “Janah isn’t much for classes or reports. She likes her learning eclectic, not organized. She is entirely self directed. Besides the potential social difficulties of college from a parent’s point of view, there’s Janah’s. She has no interest in it. Frankly, she would only be sitting there listening to what she’s already read about elsewhere. She spends some of her time at home listening to the lectures on the MIT website.”
Lacy bit her lip and scrunched her nose, “I’m afraid to ask.”
James, “Yes, she understands them. I don’t, not the theoretical physics ones. She explains them to me. I follow some of it.”
Lacy, “Might she benefit from the give and take, the challenge and response of students and professors who are at her intellectual level, wouldn’t that provide some additional stimulus?”
James smiled, “It sounds pretentious, even preposterous, the fact is, there aren’t any professors at her intellectual level. She memorizes neurobiology textbooks for amusement and she understands what they say. She absorbs facts as fast as they can be presented, and she’s better than Google. When she searches her memory, no irrelevant information comes up.”
Lacy tilted her head, “What do you mean?”
James, “If you put “night vision” into Google, you get articles on laser surgery and night vision goggles all mixed together. Janah, like any human, can put the query into context and skip extraneous or unrelated information. The difference for her is that the information retrieval is encyclopedic. Anyway, she thinks she can be more help to kids nearer her age than eight or ten years older. She doesn’t care for math for instance, she just remembers it. She can teach it, but she doesn’t spend time doing it. Creating algorithms for Google or Netflix is not a career choice. As far as staying interested, she’s never bored.”
Now Lacy was really curious, “Well, how can that be? She doesn’t do class work here, that’s not a complaint, she doesn’t need to. She appears to be tutoring some of the students. Often I see her and a girl sitting, Janah says almost nothing and the other student is talking a mile a minute. Lots of times, I see one or another girl just sitting with her. Like her just being there is enough.”
Kara said quietly, “She gets that a lot.”
Lacy, “So none of this is news to you?”
James, “No.”
Lacy cautiously asked, “What do they talk about?”
James, “We don’t know.
Lacy lay her hands on the desk, “Help me.”
James, “Janah doesn’t discuss personal conversations. She and I talk frequently regarding subjects on her mind, not her specific conversations with people. She regards them as confidential. I respect that.”
Lacy, “Are you concerned that girls, older ones say, might be trying to coerce her, put ideas in her head? Adolescents and teens can be, well, you’re a psychiatrist…”
James didn’t answer for a moment, then, “What happened when you talked to Janah?”
Lacy looked up to her left, recalling her conversations, “We met three times last year. I found myself going on about the school. Now that I reflect on it, I talked and she listened.”
Lacy’s eyes drifted back to James, “I see what you’re intimating. She told me almost nothing, yet I was left feeling we had this wonderful conversation. Somehow, I always felt better.”
Lacy stared off into space for a moment, “How does she do that? Have you worked with her on these things?”
“No. I feel better after I talk to her as well. To answer your prior question, Janah is never influenced by what other people tell her. She is incapable of being led around by either the well intentioned or the malicious.”
“How does she avoid it? She clearly has a good heart. Could she not be led into difficulties simply by being too trusting?”
“No.”
“Just no? You’re quite confident, Dr. Svensson.”
“Janah would say that people who get misled participate in the process. They want something. Even if they only want acceptance or recognition, the misled play a part in their own deception. Janah is oblivious to any siren song, whether it’s for things, inclusion, or applause. It’s simple enough. Since she wants nothing, she can’t be coerced. People trust her with good reason. She doesn’t gossip, so there’s no need to be guarded. She isn’t after anything, there’s no point to trying to manipulate her, the carrot would just dangle until it rotted.”
“You’ve given me a great deal to think over. Out of curiosity, how did she come to this?”
Kara smiled, “We don’t know. And if we did know, it wouldn’t change who she is. She doesn’t make any big deal out of it, so why should we?”
Lacy, “And your attempts wouldn’t help her in any way.”
Kara, “Exactly. She doesn’t need help, she helps.”
“Which zeroes in to the matter at hand. Does Janah want to stay here, and if so, in what capacity?”
James and Kara exchanged glances, James answered, “That’s a better question for her. We don’t mean to make this difficult. I know we don’t sound like typical parents, we can’t be, we hardly have a typical daughter. Until I have strong reasons to do otherwise, or she asks, I won’t interject myself into Janah’s decisions regarding her life. While she is nearly eleven, she is nothing like eleven. We would only frustrate ourselves treating her as if she were a child.”
“And frustrating her in the process?”
“Janah doesn’t get frustrated.”
Lacy looked at him, she wondered if he was kidding her.
James saw Lacy’s confusion, “Don’t ask me where that comes from, perhaps Kara, who is inordinately calm herself. Temperamentally, Janah has no buttons to push. As parents, we don’t get to do much parenting, at least the hard part. We get to give and receive the affection. We’re not turning a blind eye. We look, we don’t see problems, there’s no need to subject her to parental paranoia. Parents make their children secretive by judging, often negatively, everything they do. If I were presumed guilty until proven innocent or had to listen to a critique of my every action, I’d shut up too.”
“Then I have your permission to work this out directly with Janah?”
Kara, “Yes.”

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