Scene 6: Walking Home with Compassion
Mama and Karen said goodbye to the dazed Mrs. Proctor.
“My Krana Layala, those kids ran right over you. Should I carry you? Can you walk?” Mama asked.
Karen’s body hurt all over, but she said, “Yes they did, Mama, but I’ll be okay. I’m just a little bruised. I’ll feel better when we start walking.”
Hand in hand, they left the schoolyard through the same gate by which they had entered. As she had predicted, the pain lessened during the short walk to the gate.
Alone on the sidewalk with Mama, and unobserved by anyone but her mother, Karen let her tears return. She could not believe that what had just occurred had been real, that not one child had cared enough to stop and help her. They all kept running for their candy.
She heaved for more air, the emotional shock more painful than her physical wounds. The unwillingness of others to give up their pursuit of candy when someone was suffering and clearly needed help had shattered and shaken her.
Is this what people think life is about—instant selfish gratification from chocolate, regardless of the human cost? What kind of a world do I live in? How could people hurt other people like this? Is a handful of chocolate more important than a human life? What about kindness and compassion? What about empathy and sympathy? Have we all forgotten how to treat each other? Somehow we have to stop being mean and insensitive. Our greed is out of control.
In her memory, she saw the stampede from above, as if she were looking down from the sky. She lay, a small trampled figure beneath the stampede of older, non-disabled children. The compassionate Mrs. Proctor stood helpless with Mama watching the event unfold.
Conscience awakened, she vowed that she would never ignore someone who needed help. She would teach, demonstrate, and convey the lesson she had learned, today. Manifesting selflessness, she would give compassion and kindness to all. Inhaling, exhaling, composing herself, she vowed, I will be the enlightened one. I will awaken others. I will teach in a way that no one has taught before.
Original Text ©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.