The Healing Horse, Ch. 32: Finding Gilberto

Photo of Jackie Gleason with June Taylor Dancers

This scene begins a new chapter in the book and a new chapter in little Karen’s life, as she blossoms into a beautiful young lady and an accomplished dancer.

(Image by CBS-TVUploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 1: The Definitive Moment

Two weeks later, Karen let out a deep sigh as she watched the June Taylor Dancers do their kaleidoscope routine on TV. Saturday night meant The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS and seeing the dancers always made her heart sing. When Jackie came on for his monologue, she did her best to repeat the dancers’ moves. The show continued, but she ignored the antics of Ralph Kramden and his neighbor, Crazy Guggenheim. She wanted to do what the dancers did. 

Mama watched from her easy chair. She had noticed Karen’s love of dance from when she was a baby squirming in time to music. When Karen learned to stand, her right foot tapped with the music, and she did her best to dance like the professionals she saw on TV. Karen’s favorite shows all featured dance. She loved Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, and Dean Martin. The Radio City Rockettes were her favorites. And in movies, she could not get enough of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Cyd Charisse. Karen wanted to see every dance concert Mama could afford. Leslie Caron, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Rudolf Nureyev, and Margot Fonteyn were her heroes. She loved every kind of dance, from ballet to modern and tap. 

But tonight was different. Karen was growing up and doing things the doctors said she would never do, including an excellent imitation of June Taylor’s dancers. 

Why didn’t I think of this before? My Krana Layala has the soul of a dancer, and it’s time for her to manifest it. If she can ride a horse, she can dance! 

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 31, Scene 4: Reflections on a Shattered Glass

image of spiral of valentine hearts

Love is beautiful, and in this scene, Pegasus and Karen affirm that. Dollars spent or minutes enjoyed together cannot measure it.

(Image by owoPricessPower666, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 4: Reflections on a Shattered Glass

Karen let Mama lead her through the garage and back to the Chevy. She did not say even one word as Mama drove them home. When Karen emerged from the car, she walked through the house to her bedroom. She kicked off her shoes, put on her slippers, and jumped up onto the window seat. She had a lot on her mind.

As soon as she got settled, Pegasus walked up to the window. She rose to her knees and opened it by pushing the latch down with her beautifully disabled arm.

“Hi, Boy. Thanks for coming to visit. I just got home and need to renew myself. Spending the day with Tammy wore me out. She was great, but her sister was something else. Let me tell you what happened…”

Pegasus listened and then spoke from his heart. “Kitten, you learned a lot today. You shared your wisdom with Tammy and gave her your love and support. You were even kind to her sister. And you found you have something valuable to give. Now you understand you can pass on the wisdom I have given you, even in difficult situations. It will be there in reserve for future use. You have inner strength. You have come a long way since the day Claudia bullied you to tears.”

“But what about Tammy and her family? I can’t visit them every day.”

“Tammy knows what love is. She will be all right. But her mother and sister need to learn love flows directly from heart to heart. It does not go by way of clocks and pocketbooks.”

Karen nodded. In her wisdom, she knew exactly what he meant. “Yes, it’s nice to spend time with people you love and buy them nice things, but it’s the love that counts, not the minutes and dollars spent.”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 31, Scene 3: Hurricane Sandy

image of wine glass

In this scene, little Karen watches as Tammy, Sandra, and Patsy explode over their unworkable situation. They try to heal, but they need help.

(Image by New England Glass Company, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scene 3: Hurricane Sandy

As Sandy stormed out of the room and through the hallway to the kitchen, she worked herself into a rage, and her murmuring became a rave.

“Why can’t Tammy see I have to take over every time Mommy’s not here? It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I am not her mother. Besides, I can’t stand being around her all that much. Maybe it’s me, and maybe I just don’t have it inside of me to be that compassionate, but I wasn’t born to be a personal attendant. The thought of being by her side, as she says—of being her dutiful helper—repulses me. How grotesque! It creeps me out. Being with her takes everything out of me. It drives me nuts! I am going to have my own life, and my own life is going to be without her. But what will people think of me if I refuse to care for my disabled sister? What will my friends say? I don’t care what Tammy and Mommy think, but I care what my friends think, and what other people think. My family is too much. I hate the whole situation. I just want to go away to college and never come home again.”

“Sandy, calm down,” Patsy said as Sandra slammed open the kitchen door and stomped in, her eyes fixed on the floor. “Mrs. Hershstein is here visiting me. We heard everything, and you and I should discuss the situation with your sister, but not in front of company. I need to run some errands right after our guests leave, so I need you to stay with Tammy for the afternoon. I hope I can count on you for that. It’s just a few hours, and then I’ll be back, and you can go out and have fun with your friends.”

Sandra’s eyes fixed on the Baccarat glasses beside the sink. She turned away from her mother and picked one up, mesmerized by the crystal, stroking it with her finger, tapping it gently and listening to it ring.

With her eyes on the glass, she whirled and shrieked, “Mommy, I just can’t do this anymore. It’s beyond me. I’m barely sixteen, and I have to be my sister’s attendant? Can’t I just have a life for myself? Besides, I made plans to spend the afternoon with my friends, and I want to show off my new car. I invited them to cruise Wilshire and watch a movie. They are counting on me to drive them. How can you tell me to break my commitment to them?”

Patsy exploded. “Sandy, you are three-and-a-half years older, and you’re not disabled. Have some kind of kindness and compassion! All you think about is yourself, your girlfriends, and what you can get me to buy you. This is your sister, not a stranger! What is she going to do when I die, when you won’t even help her now? You have a responsibility.”

Sandra glared at her mother and shouted, “But Mommy! Tammy always gets her way!”

Patsy erupted. “Don’t but Mommy me! You don’t get it, do you? I wonder if you ever will! Can’t you understand I see through your games! I let you take advantage of me because I love you, but I don’t like the way you act or the person you think you are. You can’t even find it in your heart to help your own mother or sister. This is not about Tammy getting her way. This is about you helping me, instead of being the Cadillac girl running around with your girlfriends all the time. Are they more important than Tammy and me? You need to take some responsibility and help me take care of Tammy!”

Something hard hit the kitchen door, and Tammy rolled through it in her power chair.

With her arms and legs striking out in spasms of emotional pain, Tammy shouted, “Sandy! I never asked you to help me like this. All I ever wanted was to have a sister and to be close to her. Can’t you see you don’t have to provide any help for me? I hate needing this much help. Can’t you see I wish I could do everything for myself, like you? I’ll trade places with you right now. Do you think I enjoy being handicapped? Try it for a day! Try it for a week! Or try it for a month and then tell me how you feel about being disabled and about yourself! Just try having someone else take twenty minutes to get you out of bed and into your clothes. I am not broken! I hate needing help from you or anyone else! I’d trade places with you in a second. Put yourself in my brace and see how it feels! I am not broken! I have C.P., but I am a whole person!”

Sandra froze and trembled. “I can’t stand this anymore!”

She hurled the crystal glass at the floor. The crash of it shattering brought silence to the room. Then Tammy sighed and held up her left hand. A shard of glass had pierced the back, and red blood flowed down her arm to her elbow.

Everyone converged on Tammy. Sandra held the injured hand and burst into tears.

Patsy took the hand and pulled out the triangle of glass. “How could you…”

Tammy remained calm. “Kitten, the drawer right behind you is full of clean dish towels. Can you press one against this, please?”

Karen applied pressure to the wound, and it stopped bleeding. Tammy gave her a big smile.

Patsy hugged Sandra. “I’m sorry. I can see I’ve asked too much of you. You want your own life, and you want to put yourself first in your life, even before your family. I will cancel my plans for the afternoon. Besides, I need to take Tammy to the doctor now, anyway. You can go out with your friends in your new car, and you can cruise Wilshire. And I know you’ve been wanting a TV set for your room, so you can watch your own TV shows and not have to suffer through the ones Tammy or I want to watch. So, I will get one for you. Then, when you absolutely cannot get out of staying home with Tammy, you will have some entertainment of your own, and I won’t have to listen to your arguments about which show to watch! You will have your TV and your car and your life, and we will have ours. And we will all have a little peace in this house. All I ask is for a bit of help with Tammy.”

Patsy put one arm around Tammy. “You girls are all I have left. When I am gone, you will have only each other. It’s a very hard world we live in. It will be a lot harder for the two of you if you can’t learn to get along.”

In the silent room, her words repeated in their minds, again and again. Things would never be the same.

Karen stood silently, heart pounding in sympathy for Patsy and Sandra, but especially for Tammy. She watched as Patsy gave Mama a pleading look. Mama would not approve of rewarding Sandra for misbehaving, but she smiled reassuringly.

“Krana Layala,” Mama said. “You and I should leave now. Mrs. Beaumont needs time to take care of Tammy and Sandra. They all need to heal.”

Karen wrapped her arms around her friend. “Tammy, I will be there for you, and I will see you in school on Monday. Thank you, Mrs. Beaumont, for letting me visit with Tammy today. I hope we can do this again soon.”

She turned to Sandra. “I like your art and your sense of style. Please don’t hold it against me that I am handicapped like Tammy. I am sure that, despite everything, she would still like to be your sister, and I’d still like to be your friend.”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse, Ch. 31, Scene 2: Tears and Guilt

photo of coffee percolator

In this scene, the two mothers bond over their love of their children and the tragedies that have shaped their lives. 

(Image by Andreaze, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 2: Tears and Guilt

Patsy finished arranging the glasses and sat down with Katie. She made eye contact, and then a few tears flowed.

“Katie, I feel like I’m trapped. No matter what I do, something bad happens. When Tammy was born, Dr. Lambert wanted to send her to Sonoma, and my husband agreed. I refused. As soon as he could find himself an apartment, my husband moved out and filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. I got a smart lawyer and decent alimony, but that was the end of my marriage. I couldn’t let them take Tammy away. Just because she’s disabled doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve a good life. I saved my child, but I lost my husband.”

“Your husband left you. I had no idea.”

“I’m glad he’s gone. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who abandoned his family. What about yours?”

“Oh, he was a mensch. He was wonderful with Karen, but he got killed in a car wreck.”

“Oh, my god. Does she have sisters?”

“No. She’s an only child.”

“So everything’s on you… On the other hand, there’s no sibling rivalry.”

“I noticed Sandra’s attitude…”

“Hard to miss. I’ve tried to give her the best of everything. She sleeps in the master suite and her father, who is not completely out of the picture, gave her a new Cadillac, but she just wants to get through school and go away to college.”

“Cadillacs and college… Sounds better than it could be.”

“Do you know what she said when I drove her to get the car from her dad?” ‘Mommy, this is the first time we’ve had alone together in years.’ I almost cried.”

They sipped their coffee in peace for a few moments, then the sounds of shouting brought them back into the real world of disabilities and sibling rivalries. Katie watched a deep, exasperated grimace grow on Patsy’s face. Even with alimony and a beautiful home, Patsy was crumpling before her eyes.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 31: The Thrown Glass

photo of Ohrbach's logo on shopping bag

In the first scene of a new chapter, the two mothers bond, and the crystal glasses foreshadow another explosion. 

(Image of Ohrbach’s logo by unknown)

Scene 1: In the Kitchen

Katie admired Patsy’s newly remodeled Mediterranean-style kitchen with its white marble counters and light brown cabinets. She leaned her elbows on the marble island in the middle of the floor. Across from it, near the big farmhouse sink, a small niche set in the wall held a modern electric coffee percolator and other household appliances.

After a few minutes of relaxing alone, the thrum of a car engine in the attached garage came through the kitchen door. It stopped, and a small, broad-shouldered woman hurried in, carrying two large paper sacks of groceries in her muscular arms. Patsy was as tiny as Audrey Hepburn, but strong. She had to be to lift her daughter. She wore her shoulder-length brown hair swept up into a bun, and dressed for comfort in blue jeans and a white knit top. Even in casual clothes, she projected the image of an elegant and successful lady. However, though she and Katie were both in their early forties, she look a decade older. Her twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week obligation to her daughter showed in her lined face and the dark circles under her eyes. Katie had never heard her complain about caring for Tammy, but she was grateful her Kitten would never require the same level of care.

Patsy plopped the bags onto the island and wrapped her arms around her new friend in a warm hug. “Katie, how’re you doin’? I didn’t expect to see you here. I thought you were gonna drop off Karen and be on your way.”

Katie had been worried about Tammy bumping into walls, but did not want to imply that Patsy made a poor decision by leaving Sandra in charge. After hearing the girls screaming at each other, she was glad she had stayed. “I thought I should stay in case Karen needed me. She’s not as independent as she looks. Can I help you carry in things?”

“Sure. In the garage.”

A moment later, Katie carried in a large, white shopping bag with the red Ohrbach’s “Oh!!” on its side. Patsy carried in a cardboard carton. Everything went onto the center island.

“What’s in the Ohrbach’s bag?” Katie asked.

“It’s a surprise for Tammy, and a gift for me. I bought it to wear to Tammy’s next PTA meeting. I want her to be proud of me.”

She lifted an elegant, sleeveless oyster white step-in dress up to her chin. Twirling to the left and then to the right, she giggled as Katie applauded and admired the bateau neckline, matching white leather buckled belt at the natural waist, and the straight skirt hemmed just below the knee.

“And these pumps and gloves go with it.” She lifted two cardboard boxes out of the bag and opened them to show off a pair of black shoes and wrist-length gloves.

“You and Tammy will be the belles of the ball.”

“Let me make you some coffee, Katie. I know I can use some. Do you want anything in it? I have cream, sugar, scotch, and bourbon. Personally, I need cream to soothe my stomach ulcer and lots of sugar to keep my energy up. The hard stuff can wait until my girls have gone to bed and are safe for the night.”

They both laughed.

“And I take mine black to keep my svelte figure,” Katie quipped back, as she patted her bulging belly.

While the coffee perked, Katie helped Patsy put away groceries. Within a few minutes, they were sitting side-by-side on sturdy brown leather-upholstered stools at the island in the middle of the kitchen.

Katie said, “You look like you have a lot on your mind, Patsy. Do you want to tell me about it?”

As Katie sipped her coffee, Patsy explained her situation, while carefully taking a set of six Baccarat crystal wine glasses from the box she had carried in. She placed them in a row beside the sink.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 30, Scene 3: Why Can’t They Understand?

image of man lighting fuse on powder keg

In the last scene of Chapter 30, Karen affirms Tammy’s need to express her true feelings… But Sandra continues raging in the background. 

(Image by Bonnefoy, Jacques, engraver, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 3: Why Can’t They Understand?

As Sandra stomped down the hallway, Kitten hurried to Tammy’s side. She put her comforting, strong right arm around her. That was when the tears again gushed down Tammy’s face.

“I’m glad my sister left and gave us some privacy. I’ve been putting on a pretty face for my family, but I’m exasperated with telling them what they want to hear. You’re an example, showing me what honest talk is. You’ve taught me how to be honest with myself.”

“Thanks. I know that was hard for you, but if we don’t speak up, people—especially our own families—won’t respect us, and they won’t know how we feel.”

“Darn it, Kitten! Why can’t they understand? Why can’t they see my problem is I have a disability? I am a human being with a disability. I may drool and have a speech defect, and I may need help with everything, but does that imply that every non-disabled person who helps me also gets to control how I feel?”

“No. Of course not. Besides, we must not fear our own feelings, even if they sometimes upset other people.”

Tammy’s tears subsided, and Karen wiped her face with another tissue.

Tammy flashed her a smile. “It’s hard when even your own family says they understand, but they don’t. You try to tell them what you feel, and no one even wants to listen.”

“People who don’t have disabilities can’t comprehend what we go through daily, but you have always held your head high and been strong.”

“Thank you, Kitten. Your belief in me really helps.”

“Many people without disabilities never understand us. And how could they? We have to teach them. We have to become the teachers. Otherwise, the world will never see us as valuable human beings. That’s why we need to be there for each other, like extended family.”

“Kitten, you always express what you believe, gently and directly. This is a genuine gift.”

“Thank you, but we should think of Sandra’s feelings, too. We all need a little of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“I try. But she’s like a powder keg with a lit fuse…”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 30, Scene 2: Stomping In. Stomping Out.

photo of erupting volcano

In scene two, little Karen witnesses another bad interaction between the two sisters. The older one erupts like a volcano hiding under a frigid layer of ice and snow.

(Image by McGimsey, Game, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 2: Stomping In. Stomping Out.

Sandra stomped in. “What do you want?”

Tammy frowned and shrank further into her chair. “I need you to transfer me to the couch. My thigh is raw from sitting all morning in one place, and I need some padding between the seat and me until it gets broken in. I would be grateful for your help.”

“It looks as if I am stuck with the transferring job again. Mommy needs a helper, because I can’t be your attendant forever. What will you do when I leave for college? However, for the time being, I shall sacrifice myself in order to help you, my dear, special little sister. Turn your wheelchair parallel to the couch.”

Tammy pivoted the chair into position, and Sandra locked the brakes before slipping her arms under Tammy’s.

“On the count of three. One. Two. Three.”

On three, she lifted Tammy and pivoted her onto the couch. Karen helped adjust the cushions, so Tammy was sitting comfortably.

Tammy’s arms and legs had frozen, their involuntary movements stilled by her fury. “You think I would ask you if I could do this by myself, Sandy? If I can’t ask you and Mommy, who can I ask? You’re lucky. You’re not disabled.”

Sandra hugged Tammy. “Now, don’t get excited. You’re getting all worked up over nothing. You know I love my special sister. I would never do anything to hurt you, angel.”

Tammy shrank away. “Don’t patronize me. I understand exactly what you said, and I will not tolerate threats. Can’t you understand my feelings? It’s bad enough needing help, but having to beg for it… How would you feel?”

Sandra blushed. Tammy had never spoken like this before. Tammy needed protection, even from her own hurt and pain. How could she, the older able-bodied sister, be selfish with her? She looked to Karen for help but received only a hard stare.

She shifted emotional gears into syrupy pity. It was all she had. She tried to put her hand on her sister’s cheek. Tammy struggled to get away.

“Try to calm down, Tammy. I didn’t mean to offend you. It just makes me nervous when you get loud and agitated. It’s hard for me to handle.”

But the anger rose and with it, her voice.

“You get all the attention from Mommy. I get none. Every time you cry for her, she comes running. She never has a moment for me. I was a happy little girl with a wonderful father before you drove him away. You’re too much for anyone to deal with, except a masochist like Mommy. He left because of you and your disabilities.”

Her voice dropped. “I can’t believe I’m saying these things to you.”

She stomped out the way she came in.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 30, Scene 1: Drool and Tissue

photo of tissue box decorated with kisses

Chapter 30 continues little Karen’s visit to Tammy’s home. As always, she does her best to help her friend. In the first scene, she provides some of the care that Tammy’s sister should. 

(Image by Captain MarcusL, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 1: Drool and Tissue

In the living room, Tammy leaned forward in her wheelchair, collapsed and helpless, both arms and legs trembling and twitching.

She lifted her head, eyes full of tears, chin covered with drool. “This wheelchair is really getting to me. I’m all bunched up. The new leather is stiff and chafing me, and if I lean forward, I can’t get back upright again. I love this chair, but…”

“Maybe I can help you shift around in the seat.”

“Thanks, but no. It takes two hands to lift me. But you could wipe my face with a tissue. I’ve made a mess with my drool. I called Sandy for help, but she’s already in a foul mood.”

As Karen grabbed a tissue and gently dried her friend’s face, Sandra’s voice came from the hallway.

“I’m coming! I’ll be right there!”

Then came a murmur. “Here we go again. Will helping my sister never end?”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 29, Scene 4: Plans, Clicks, and Sobs

Photo of 45 rpm I Want to Hold Your Hand

In this scene, Karen learns more about what broke Sandra’s soul.  

(The picture is of the first pressing of the 45 rpm disc of The Beatles’ I  Want to Hold Your Hand. Photo by H. Michael Karshis from San Antonio, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 4: Plans, Clicks, and Sobs

As Karen walked down the hall, the click and hum of someone turning on a stereo broke the silence, and then The Beatles’ song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” shook the floor. She closed the door to the bathroom, and after a moment, the volume of the music dropped to background level. Next to the toilet, she found a worn copy of Highlights—something to occupy her mind.

She wanted to relax for a few minutes. The huge whirlpool bathtub called to her. If she could relax in a tub like that, she was sure that the tension her therapists said she carried in her body would relax. Or, maybe Pegasus would say that no matter how enjoyable it was, it was not a substitute for the relaxation that selflessness would bring.

Through the wall that adjoined Sandy’s bedroom, the beeps of someone using a touch-tone phone interrupted her review. Then Sandy’s voice came through.

“Hello, Peggy, it’s me. I wanted to let you know I wanna go shopping at noon. I’d love to pick you up. I’ll get Liz on the way, but not the Judith. Not until she apologizes. Wait ’ll you see my new wheels—a red Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible! We will look so cool… Didn’t I tell you I could get Daddy to give me his, if I played my cards right? See you at noon! And I have some pot. We’re going to be cosmic.”

The up and down tones of the touch tone keys sounded again, and Sandy’s voice resumed.

“Liz, I was just talking to Peggy. We’re going shopping and cruising on Wilshire. Wanna come along? The movie? I was thinking of Sex and the Single Girl? Okay, that sounds like the purr-fect film for us, when we get tired of spending our parents’ money. Are you sure they’ll let us in?… Yes, of course I have my fake ID. I’m not going to lose it. It’s in the glove box of my brand new Cadillac, along with my real driver’s license! And I have a lid of pot. We can get stoned before the movie. All right! Let’s go! But not the Judith. The Judith can see movies on her own, right? Okay, I’ll pick you up a little after noon, and then we’ll get Peggy. We’ll be the coolest girls in town.”

From the other end of the house, Tammy’s voice cut in. “Oh, Sandy! Sandy! Mommy’s not here, and I’m all scrunched up in the new wheelchair. Can you help me?”

Sandy’s voice jumped an octave. “Did you hear that? That was my sister screeching for help, again. That voice grosses me out. She’ll never be able to care for herself, but my mother doesn’t see that. She’s going to spend the rest of her life toileting and feeding my sister, but I won’t do that! I want my own life, and when I leave here for college, I’m leaving them both behind. Mommy needs to hire a helper. She gives all her attention to Tammy. That’s why we don’t have a father anymore. Tammy and her disabilities drove him away… For now, I have to help my sister, but I will not be a slave to her. Liz, I am sorry. I can’t believe I’m saying these things. This is so stressful. I’ll see you soon. Bye!”

The phone clicked, then Sandra slammed the receiver into its cradle and sobbed. After several minutes, the dial tones sounded again, followed by Sandra’s voice, trembling in desperation. “Daddy—you and your answering machine. You never miss a business call, and you never take my call—here I am, again, restricted to a sixty-second message, and not even hoping for a return call. You must hate me as much as Tammy and Mommy. Please call me back. Never mind. I’m sorry I called you. Goodbye.”

Sandra’s phone clicked, and a series of deepening sobs began. Karen tiptoed back down the long hallway with a heavy heart and a mind full of questions about Tammy’s family. Her earlier fantasy about the happiness of the Beaumont home had been replaced by a more accurate understanding that it was a dark prison for Sandy, and perhaps for Mrs. Beaumont and Tammy as well. She looked deep within her soul for kindness and wisdom. Right now she would help Tammy get comfortable.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

Ch. 29, Scene 3: Sandra Raised Her Eyebrows

image of cadillac convertible

In this scene, Karen rises above the temptation to lash out at a wounded soul, no matter what. Read on to see how she does this. 

(The picture is from, a great place if you love beautiful cars. Unfortunately, someone bought this car before I could. Just kidding…)

Scene 3: Sandra Raised Her Eyebrows

Sandra raised her eyebrows before adding, “Oh, and Karen, would you forgive me if I changed the subject for a moment and asked you to do me a favor?”

“Sure, Sandy. What?”

“I’m expecting a phone call from my friend the Judith. If the Judith calls, don’t let her know I’m taking care of my sister. Tammy can’t hold the phone, so you’ll have to answer or hold it up for her. If you answer, it will be better. Tammy’s hard for regular people to understand. At least you’re a little better. I have to study now. I’ll be in my bedroom.”

Karen reflexively nodded, but then caught herself. Sandy was asking her to lie. “I’m sorry, Sandy, but why can’t you answer the phone yourself? Don’t you have an extension in your room?”

Sandy laughed over her shoulder as she swaggered away. “Oh, naïve child, of course I have an extension. I made Mommy buy me a brand new pink princess phone with the lighted push buttons, and I made Daddy give me his brand new Cadillac Coupe DeVille Biarritz convertible. But I don’t want the Judith to know I’m studying at home. I want her to think I’m out having fun with our friends. And she wasn’t invited. That’s the point. She needs to learn she can’t criticize me for wearing bows in my hair like Audrey Hepburn. Can you please help? It will help Tammy. Besides, I have some calls to make, so the line will be busy most of the time. It is highly unlikely that the Judith will even be able to get through.”

Karen watched Sandy disappear down the long hallway. Feeling indignation rising, she paused and looked within her heart. Sandy called her friend “the Judith,” as if her friend were an object and not a human being. And over her hair-do? But then, how had Judith made Sandy feel? Karen knew how much pain teasing and excluding caused. She had gone through them. Sandy needed help, not fury.

After clearing her mind, she focused on Tammy. She was here to be with Tammy, however unfortunate Sandy’s state of mind.

She smiled. “Maybe we won’t answer the phone. I don’t want to lie or hurt her friend’s feelings.”

Tammy rolled her eyes. “And you don’t want to let Sandy turn you into her weapon.”

As she and Tammy laughed about the challenges of using a power wheelchair, Karen’s stomach knotted. She wished Pegasus were with her. Something terrible would happen soon. Something to do with Tammy. How could she protect her friend, who had no defenses of her own?

Karen’s stomach clenched. She needed to excuse herself.

Tammy said, “It’s at the end of the hall, Kitten. Just past Sandy’s bedroom.”

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.