The Healing Horse, Ch. 19, Scene 5: Flashback to The Physical Therapy Room

image of painting by van goghThis scene introduced Mrs. Helga Schmidt, one of the darker characters in The Healing Horse, one who challenges little Karen to be her best in the face of adversity and discrimination. 

Happy Holidays! And things will look up for Kitten, soon!

(Painting by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 5: Flashback to The Physical Therapy Room

The motion of the bus put Karen’s mind into a hypnotic state. With each mile Mr. Hinton drove, the further back in time she traveled. She thought of the doctors and of her coming clinic. Then she recalled the one time that an adult at school had hurt her, physically. It had been four years before. She also remembered that no matter what happened, she never sniveled or whined.

A large picture window and a pair of French doors faced the playground. Their dirty glass let a little natural light into the Physical Therapy room. Two desks, one for the therapist and one for her assistant, stood close to the wall by the window. A filing cabinet stood in the corner next to the desks, by two folding tables covered with office supplies, tools and trash.

On the south wall, a framed print of Van Gogh’s Still Life: Vase with Pink Roses provided the only beauty in the room. Karen knew the painting from when Mama had taken her to a county art museum exhibit. Van Gogh had painted it during his final days in a mental asylum. The bright blossoms and wavy green background were his way of saying that life was getting better.
She understood how the painting symbolized much of her life, but the clutter, gloom and heavy dust of the PT room overpowered its beauty.

In the physical therapy room, she met with Mrs. Helga Schmidt, the school’s physical therapist. Mrs. Schmidt was a heavy-set, older woman with tinted reddish hair. Karen could see gray coming through the dye. When Mrs. Schmidt spoke, her voice was harsh, and Karen heard a heavy German accent. Kitten picked it up because of her Jewish heritage. Mama Katie had explained the strong similarity between the German and Yiddish languages.

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

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