The Healing Horse, Ch 7, Scene 05: Kitten Rises to the Occasion on Sunday Morning

Determined to do everything she can to help her friend, Kitten drags herself out of bed, ignores her own pain, and decides to visit him every day.

Scene 05: Kitten Rises to the Occasion on Sunday Morning

When morning came, Karen slept late. Though the sunlight coming through the window hurt her eyes, she forced them open. She was not in the mood to get out of bed on a Sunday morning, not this Sunday. She wanted to sleep all day. She forced herself because she had to. She had to be strong to help Pegasus. He had come alive to guide her and to help her find her inner strength. She could not let him down. Even though she wanted to hide from the hurt and pain, her grieving thoughts drove her ahead.

She hobbled to her dresser and rummaged for clean clothes. Looking up, she stared at her own face. The mirror reflected how she felt. She was not her usual bouncy self. Her eyes were swollen, and she wished she had some of Mama’s makeup to hide the blemishes under the sockets. She looked like a very old tween. She had to look good for herself and be presentable to go outside. She had to take pride in the way she looked and felt about herself. She had to be there for her horse.

Who else will be there for him, if I’m not? If I’m not there, today, then when will I be?

Karen vowed to visit the demolished carousel as often as she could before its wreckage was hauled away, and before the horses were taken away or destroyed. Since it was closed, she would visit every day. She could not let Pegasus down. Her heart was breaking, and her new-found confidence badly shaken. Pegasus was Karen’s greatest hope. She did not equivocate. Within minutes, she finished getting ready.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch 7, Scene 04: Mama’s Vigil

Mama understands that her daughter’s grief is more than a childish over-reaction to loss. The little girl needs her horse.

Scene 04: Mama’s Vigil

Standing by the front door, Mama glanced at her watch. Her girl had slept through lunch. She picked up the phone from the desk and canceled her hairdressing appointment. It could wait for another time, for when Karen got through her crisis. She needed to be here for her Krana Layala, when her daughter needed her the most. Grocery shopping could also wait. She would ask Kimberly’s mom to pick up some noshes to tide her and her girl over.

Before returning to her daughter’s room, she picked up the phone and dialed a friend at home. This was a friend who worked at city hall. She would know what was up.

“Betsy, it’s Katie. My Karen just got home from The Pier. She loves it. It’s everything to kids her age, but she said that the hippodrome had been shut down. Something about a hotel. Can you clue me in?”

“I’m sorry, Katie, but I’m the last person you should ask about this. I’m just a secretary and a nice Jewish girl. I don’t have any authority with the city.”

“Come on, Betsy, you can level with me…”

“I could get fired, Katie, but here’s the deal…”

Minutes later, Mama hung up the phone. She knew enough. And as a paralegal, she knew what she had to do.

Lugging a folding chair from the front closet, she set it up outside Kitten’s door and waited. She felt exhausted, herself, but wanted to be available to Kitten. However, she knew how fiercely her daughter felt about being independent, and didn’t want to provoke a reaction. Every few minutes, she opened the door and put the bed covers back over Karen, who kept throwing them off as nightmares haunted her dreams. When dinner time approached, Mama made a couple of sandwiches and reheated some leftover chicken matzo ball soup that she had made the night before and kept in the fridge.

As she carried a TV tray into Kitten’s room, she hoped that the aroma of the hot soup would awaken her daughter, but Karen did not respond, even when Mama fanned the soup’s vapors into her face.

“You can get through this challenge, too, honey,” she whispered, as she backed out of the room. “Challenges, just like wealth, come in many different disguises. It’s up to you to turn this one into a victory.”

Silently, she added, I hope you can pull yourself out of this. I’d hate to see you regress. You have come so far in such a short time, especially since you started walking to the carousel. I will be here when you reach out to me.

She sat on her folding chair with the TV tray balanced on her knees, ready to bring food to her daughter, should Karen wake up. Mama knew better than to dismiss Kitten’s agony over a simple amusement park ride. The situation was about more than a child’s naive disappointment. It was about a child’s development into an adult. Her Krana Layala needed the carousel and the special horse. Mama’s mind returned to the first year of Karen’s life, and she reminisced about the month she had spent sitting by her daughter’s hospital bed twelve years before.

Looking down at the food, she told herself that she would not nibble even one bite before bed—not even a nosh. But no sooner did she promise herself that she would not eat, than did she take one bite and then another to soothe her uneasy feelings. The evening passed, and she watched helplessly as, one tiny bite at a time, she ate both sandwiches and both bowls of soup.

After setting the tray on the floor, she tried to find a comfortable position on the folding chair. The chair was more uncomfortable than the hospital chair had been after her Krana Layala had been stricken, and she was twelve years older herself. She tried to tell herself that it was okay to eat all the food, but now guilt gripped her.

When she awoke, the clock in her bedroom read four. It was Sunday morning. She peeked in at Kitten and straightened the covers. Before collapsing into her own bed, she returned the TV tray to the kitchen and the folding chair to the hall closet. The last thing she needed was to have Kitten trip and fall over one of them.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse, Ch 7, Scene 03: Kitten Collapses in Grief

After seeing Pegasus without his magic, a mute and inanimate carving rather than a living, speaking mentor, Karen begins a journey into darkness.

Scene 03: Kitten Collapses in Grief

After running home, Karen flopped onto her bed and buried her face in her pillow.

Why? Why? How could anyone be so cruel? How could the city council do such an awful thing?

She heard a knock on her door.

“Karen, honey, it’s Mama. Can I come in, please?”

Karen took a deep breath and sighed, “Okay.”

“What happened to you? What got you so upset?”

“They closed the carousel, Mama!”

“What do you mean, my Krana Layala? Who closed the carousel? How could this have happened?”

Kitten sniffled and could not utter another word. She lay still and tried to relax as she felt Mama’s strong hands massage her back. After a while, she felt Mama’s hands leave her back, and then the bed shifted as Mama stood. She felt Mama’s kiss on the back of her head, and the door closed.

She was alone. In spite of her grief, she appreciated her mother’s respect for her privacy. She knew Mama was trying to let her grow up, and that she was beginning to trust Mama in a new way.

She then lay for hours, debilitated by grief, crying, mind filled with images of the scattered horses on the floor, of Pegasus standing alone, mute and inanimate amid the wreckage. Her body trembled. She knew she was deeply shaken. Overcome by weakness and exhaustion, she descended into a deep sleep filled with nightmares of Pegasus and the hippodrome without their magic.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch 7, Scene 02: In the Destroyed Hippodrome

As chapter seven continues, Karen faces a great challenge. Having made a friend and found a spiritual mentor, she fears she may have lost him to the forces of commerce and politics. But do not fear. She will survive the crisis and go on to save him.

Scene 02: In the Destroyed Hippodrome

Ignoring the large Keep Out sign, she entered the hippodrome and scanned it in horror. The beauteous horses lay scattered on the floor, each as inanimate as the wood from which it had been carved. Only Pegasus remained upright on his pole, alone, immobile, unable to move, stationery, a statue, a three-dimensional piece of artwork, tilted forward and strapped down as he had never been before. She knew he must feel trapped, unable to whirl, to rise and fall up and down in his joyous way.

She saw someone in the calliope’s shadow and yelped, “Is that you, Joshua?”

There was no answer. Apprehensively, she moved forward until she could see the person, and it was Joshua. His arms folded over his chest, his feet spread wide, and his head down so that she could not see his face beneath the brim of his western hat, he stood in silence. She walked closer. He raised his head, his face set in a deep frown, his eyes red from crying.

“What’s wrong, Joshua? What’s happened?”

His voice cracked when he spoke. “When I come to work, this mornin’, doll, it was all like this. Looked like a blue norther blew plumb through it all. Horses all catty whompus on the floor, lights on low and nobody here. I was fixin’ ta have me a conniption fit when the boss stepped up and said he wouldn’t be needin’ me no more, since the city council was a fixin’ ta shut down the ride. I was about pole-axed when I heared that. He said I could hang around and say my good-byes to the horses, but his hands were tied and he couldn’t do nothin’ to keep the place agoin’.”

“What will happen to the horses?” Karen asked, tear drops in her eyes.

“I don’t know. I’m in the dark about that. I think they’re a fixin’ ta tear down the whole shebang and sell the stock to the highest bidder.”

Silent tears streamed down her face as she walked to Pegasus.

“They can’t take you away from me! They can’t! We need each other.”

Though Kitten held Pegasus by the mane, she felt as if they were being torn apart even as she stood there. She could not bear it.

“Pegasus has done so much for me. I won’t lose him. I won’t let him leave my life.”

She was not sure what she was going to do, but she had never been more determined to do something. Then, Kitten’s heart sank. Pegasus had not answered.

“Pegasus, answer me, please! Say something to show me that you can hear what I am saying to you. Where will I find you when you are not here? Where will I look?”

Still, Pegasus did not speak.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch 7: Demolished

So far, little Kitten has overcome a lot of challenges. She has learned to walk in spite of her CP. She has developed a love of stories despite her dyslexia. She has learned to love life and to be positive, no matter what happens. In chapter seven, she meets her next spiritual test when her beloved Pegasus and the carousel he calls home face disaster.

Scene 01: Kitten Discovers Her Dream in Splinters

A few weeks passed, and the autumn leaves began to fall. The rich, vibrant terracottas of the season saturated this Saturday morning. As Karen walked to the pier, she heard the rustling leaves under her feet, but there was another sound. It was not a welcome sound. At first, she thought it was her left foot dragging on the ground. But it was not that. It was much more. It was something insidious and sinister. It was an undercurrent within the rustling of the leaves, an unusual vibration and frequency not heard by the human ear, but by her sixth sense. It was not her gait or her imagination. Something concealed lay in wait for her, and it made Kitten very uneasy, very uncomfortable, and very restless.

With each step toward the carousel, she felt herself become more unsettled and troubled. Vague premonitions of disaster rushed through her without warning, as she wondered what they meant. She hoped and prayed that everything was okay with Pegasus and the other carousel horses. She had never sensed anything so unusual, so threatening, and so bizarre. Her instinct told her that something was wrong, that something horrific had happened. She could not shake the feeling. In spite of this fear, she was determined and driven to take action. If something was wrong, then she would help. Her determination consumed her.

Hurrying past the park entrance, she noticed the dim lights and lack of action around the hippodrome. Outside, the arcade lights burned low. They did not dance with joy or flash on and off as they usually did. Looking in through the windows, she saw that the ticket booth was dark. The spotlights, which had always shone on the horses, were off. Only a minuscule night-light illuminated the room from above. Without the normally bright illumination, the room seemed gray and dead. The lively magic that animated it had been taken away.

#premonition #disaster

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.



The Healing Horse, Ch 6, Scene 14: Pegasus Reflects

Karen and Pegasus both reflect on how he has affected her. She understands that she needs the spiritual courage that sustains him, and he understands that because of her compassionate nature, nurturing her will not be difficult.

Scene 14: Pegasus Reflects

From then on, Karen looked at Pegasus in a wholly different way. His courage and strength buoyed her, and she felt that same strength and courage within herself. Through hearing his story, she realized that she would need a lot of what he possessed as she journeyed through her own life.

Pegasus also understood that he would not be the only one who would help Karen. He knew that as she matured, new people would enter her life and shape her sweet soul. She was open and willing to become the best person she could be, so nurturing and molding her talents would not be difficult. He would help her find other people she could lean on.

#nurturing #courage

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse Ch 6, Scene 13: In The Multi-Purpose Room

Karen finds herself in a revery as she remembers how she had dealt with the harsh words of another child, and of how she found solace in forgiveness rather than revenge.

Scene 13: In The Multi-Purpose Room

The multi-purpose room was set up as a cafeteria. Grayish-yellow food trays, scattered by children who had left them after eating, covered the five rows of tables. Karen finished her milk and felt a chill that did not come from the cold liquid. Something was wrong, but she did not know what.

After busing her tray, she made her way to the exit and pushed the panic bar on the fire door. The heavy door opened halfway. As she squeezed through, she felt someone grab the back of her pinafore and push her to the side. She felt a hot breath on her neck as a voice shouted in her ear.

“Your mama’s a fat pig! She’s got a fat belly and walks like a penguin!”

Kitten held the door handle for balance, so she did not fall in spite of the hard push. It was the girl with the plaid dress and braids who rode her school bus, and who had torn up Karen’s papers in the classroom. Karen watched her run around the corner of the building and out of sight.
Karen looked inward to her heart and swallowed her retort. She was not going to add to the negativity by putting her energy into it. She wanted peace, not conflict.

How could she say those ugly, unkind words about my mother? Mama can’t help being overweight. She tries every day not to eat foods that make her fat! Every day she starts her morning by preparing the healthiest food for me, but making a pot of coffee for herself. She drinks it black thinking she’ll take off the pounds from the food she ate the night before. She can’t help being overweight anymore than I can help having CP. It’s her disability. I won’t tell Mama what happened, today. I won’t utter a word. This would destroy her. She has enough to cope with, taking care of me. If I say anything, she will start in eating after dinner when I’m asleep and not stop. She’ll go to bed, put on the talk radio station, and eat herself into oblivion. I don’t want that to happen, so I’ll just keep quiet and bless that little girl. I don’t want her friendship, anyway. I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone that mean.

Kitten stared into space and instead of trying to suppress her feelings, she dealt with them by sending forgiveness to the little girl and practicing healing her heart. She straightened her dress and meant to play on the climbing bars, but instead she stood quietly, alone, trying to release and come to terms with the anger that the vicious comment had brought up.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse, Ch 6, Scene 12: Karen Responds to Pegasus’ Story

Even though Karen had not endured physical abuse, she did endure emotional abuse from other children. As she listens to the story of how Pegasus’ hoof was injured, she recalls how her own feelings were recently hurt.

Scene 12: Karen Responds to Pegasus’ Story

Kitten, who was innately selfless, shuddered at this threat of selfish violence.

“That must have been horrible for you,” she said.

“It was, Kitten. It was. I’ve never shared this story with anyone, before.”

Karen spontaneously replied that something similar had happened to her, though it was her feelings that were hurt, not her foot.

In her memory, she relived the scene that had happened only a few weeks before, and as she lived it in memory, it she expressed it in words so that Pegasus could hear and feel her emotions.

#kitten #hurtfeelings

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch 6, Scene 11: How His Hoof was Broken

At last, Pegasus shares some of his story with Karen, and she learns that just as her CP was the result of arrogance and a big, fragile ego in her pediatrician, so her horse’s broken hoof was the result of a young boy raging out of control.

Scene 11: How His Hoof was Broken

He replied:

One afternoon, there were some boys here at the carousel. There were three of them, to be exact. They were laughing and having a great time. Suddenly, one of them, a lad with a shock of red hair, became mischievous and agitated. He seemed to be a bully from the way he carried on with a nature both dissatisfied and discontent. He came across acting tough.

The bully alternately antagonized and egged on the other two boys. He was so completely out of control of himself that he needed to control someone else. His ego was so big, but so fragile, that he had to hurt other people to feel important to himself. He was afraid, but he dared not show it. He did not know how to show his true feelings or express them, but what he did know how to do was to hurt others and to take advantage of their weaknesses. He had a serious character defect. He couldn’t relate to people. He felt alone and he resented anyone who displayed any sort of emotion or happiness. He resented anything he wasn’t in control of. He provoked the others into violent acts, like throwing rocks at each other. Then, with fire in his eyes, he whipped out a glass bottle from his pants pocket. He ran toward us horses, his face tense and on fire with scorn and disrespect.

‘I’ll show them who’s boss!’ he exclaimed, ‘Then they’ll know! I’m going to splatter this ink all over one of these stupid horses! And you’re going to help me or else!’ he growled with venom.

The youngest spoke up nervously. ‘Don’t do that! I like riding these horses, and other people do, too. Why would you want to hurt them?’

If you don’t shut up, I’ll pour this ink into your mouth instead of onto the horse!’ he shouted.

He reached out his grubby hands and grabbed the younger boy by the shirt collar. The redhead with the fiery heart was too self-absorbed to listen to the other boy. He couldn’t understand that what he was doing had consequences. He couldn’t think in the long term. He could only focus on the now. He could only focus on the damage he was causing. He could only focus on intimidating the well-meaning boys with him. This made him feel good. This emboldened him for a while, and took his mind off how scared, cowardly, unnerved, and nasty he really was.

The other children could not stop him. He was enraged. He splattered ink everywhere. He tried playing Zorro by pulling out a pocket knife and flailing it around. The other boys were terrified of him and left. The nasty redhead grinned in triumph and victory. In a flash, everything turned chaotic. This hoodlum did not understand that behaving like a thug would not make him feel better or seem more important. This kind of meaningless anger had to be channeled, as you and I do, Kitten.

He became so infuriated that he began wrecking the carriages on the merry-go-round. He vandalized some of the horses with his ink. He became even more defiant when he saw that the carousel crew had spotted him. They were coming straight at him. Scrambling for cover and shaking with fear, he threatened them with his knife.

He and the tall cowboy who helped you onto my back circled the merry-go-round several times. At last, the wrangler got close enough to rush at the boy. Then, from the boy’s hand, the knife came flying fast. He tried to hit the cowboy, but fortunately, he missed him, and it careened off the floor. But it bounced right into my hoof, slicing into me. I couldn’t believe that someone could be so cruel and mean. He was as heartless and cold as a predatory fish!

In next to no time, the carnival owners called the horse doctor. She came quickly, right after the police, who took away the boy. She did what she could. Sadly, though, she could only fix me so much. Nevertheless, I didn’t let my spirit suffer. I learned something that day. I learned that outside appearance is not as important as many people think. It’s the inside that counts the most. It’s the intangible, the indefinable, and the indescribable.”

#arrogance #brokenhoof

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch 6, Scene 10: Pegasus Shares His Story

As you may remember, little Karen is partially paralyzed on the left side. One reason she chose Pegasus as the horse she wanted to ride, was because one of his left hooves was badly injured. In this scene, she asks him to tell her what happened. In the next scene, you will find out.

Scene 10: Pegasus Shares His Story

One momentous Saturday several weeks later, Karen decided as usual to visit the pier. It was a quiet, delicious autumn morning. With much anticipation, she soon found herself at the carousel. Her happy heart told her that something most fundamental would be shared with her on this day.

The grand music pounded out its penetrating waltz. She and her magical horse inhaled each other’s essence and relaxed in each other’s presence as the ride began. Pegasus looked up at Kitten.

“You are such an extraordinary girl,” he said. “I have come alive for you and for you alone, because I now know my mission in life. I was sent to help you, to guide you, and to empower you, and you alone!”

Karen gasped. Her heart skipped a beat, like it did when she played hopscotch. She needed a moment to focus fully. When she did, the questions in her mind jumped like jacks bouncing on concrete. First, in a gentle way, she wanted to ask him about his broken hoof and its tandem likeness with her own left side partial paralysis.

She collected herself and then whispered, “Pegasus, how did your hoof get hurt?”

#pegasus #brokenhoof

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.