salem, massachusetts, november 21. 1989 kalliope regina krane is the second child born to zachary, an obstetrician and deborah, a homemaker. to say that the family is well off is an understatement and kal grows up wanting for nothing. as the youngest child and only daughter, she is doted upon by her parents and most of her relatives. overprotected and coddled, she is a cheerful child that spends every spare moment playing make believe, eschewing the typical acivities and interests of other little girls her age, preferring to play in mud and collect bugs, much to her mother's chagrin.
deborah (an heiress and high-functioning alcoholic) prefers her only daughter to act like a young lady (instead of returning home every evening with grubby hands and feet) but she does not get her wish. despite butting heads with her mother, kal's childhood is a happy and vibrant one. as kal grows older and matures into a young woman, she has a bat mitzvah and discards some of her boyish interests in pursuit of what deborah deems important. beginning at fourteen, kal starts to model and the mother and daughter duo make frequent trips into new york city as kal is schooled on the intricacies of using her feminine wiles to her advantage. for kal, it's all another adventure, playing dress-up, but her mother is more shrewd.
athough she has always been bright, kal does not excel academically and she finds school difficult. it isn't until she reaches the fourth grade that her teacher realises she has a learning disability. to combat her dyslexia, deborah and zachary are told to encourage kal to read and to engage in activities that require a sense of discipline and focus. at deborah's insistence, kal begins dance lessons and every night, her father helps her to read a chapter of their favourite book "a little princess".
when she graduates from high school, she has to choose between college and professional modelling and it's an easy decision to make. the family fortune has always been behind her to soften the fall and modelling comes with risk. risk is seductive, promises independence and is everything deborah disagrees with so kal moves to boston on her own at 18 to make a name for herself. she's successful, but doesn't know how to take care of herself and three years later, she's left broke and disheartened but is too proud to return home.
like his daughter, zachary krane is kind, with a booming laugh to compliment his affection for life. he does as much as he can to please his wife, but never feels quite good enough. although he is not always around as she is growing up, zachary and his daughter remain close, continuing traditions from her childhood like camping and bird watching up until his untimely death. kal is twenty two years old when he dies and the loss is deeply felt.
deborah is not always warm and the death of her husband hits her hard. a woman so defined by her beauty, as the years carry on and her youth begins to fade, she grows harder, more stern and less forgiving. there are new lessons that kal learns, about the world at large and her place in it. although her mother never reveals her motivations, kal is clever enough to understand that they are not simply lessons, but a warning; cautionary tales from a life already lived. despite her mother's incessant criticisms, kal cannot begrudge her, perceiving a great sadness in deborah that she knows she can never truly comprehend.
when zachary dies, deborah is adamant that the family observes shiva and kal returns to salem for three months. without her father, everything is different and the childhood home doesn't feel like home anymore. most of the friends that she made in school have moved on from college and are in the early pursuit of careers. those that are left behind are the socialites, the "j.a.p's" that are now mothers to children raised by nannies with expensive tastes and enormous handbags. untethered, kal falls into their crowd. she meets a married woman that is every sort of wrong for her and eventually suffers the worst kind of nervous breakdown: a public one.
she's arrested and lumped into a holding cell before being confined to a 72 hour psychiatric lockdown to sweat out a cocktail of mind altering drugs. while confined with a group of unsavoury women, one of them calls her "little princess" and in solitary, she hallucinates passages from the book she used to read with her father. as the drugs wear off, she starts to examine her life and her surroundings. when the idea finally dawns upon her, she makes a vow to her departed father to change. luck, she finds, is on her side, and she earns a place at boston university to study criminal justice. her dyslexia returns with a vengeance, but she graduates and it's the first true accomplishment that she is proud of.
in 2014, in the wake of the boston marathon bombings, kal sits the mass state civil service exam and joins the boston police department. five years later, she follows her heart to california. for a little rich girl, every day of her life is harder than it needs to be, but it's on her terms and she's excited about what the future holds.
(more to come!)