Scene 8: Aspirin, a Heating Pad, and Mama
Karen brought her mind back to the bus ride. The new house is a lot farther from school. We still have a long way to go.
The evening after her disastrous physical therapy session with Mrs. Schmidt, Mama had given her an aspirin and put her to bed with their heating pad on her throbbing knee.
Mama sat on the edge of the bed and hugged her, while Kitten told her what had happened.
“Mama, I wonder whether Mrs. Schmidt’s treatments are helping me or hurting me. My muscles always feel tighter, afterward, and they should be looser.”
Then she told Mama about Mrs. Schmidt and the Nazis, and about learning to deal with reality and bearing pain and accepting being inferior and helpless.
Mama’s face turned a deep gray, and she slowly stood.
“I thought this was all over—the Nazis and the cruelty and the torture and the anti-Semitism. I can’t believe that this Mrs. Schmidt can treat you this way and brag about her Nazi sympathies, too. How can she get away with this? With you or with anyone? You would think she’d be fired. I cannot understand why the school is employing a person with Mrs. Schmidt’s beliefs, especially to work with handicapped children. I understand that Mrs. Schmidt’s sad childhood may have shaped her ideas about life, but her cruelty is unconscionable.”
Karen replied that she felt she understood Mrs. Schmidt. She would treat Mrs. Schmidt more compassionately. She did not take Mrs. Schmidt’s behavior personally. She would treat Mrs. Schmidt with kindness, as one would a sick person.
“It’s time for you to sleep, my Krana Layala. You are in pain, and your body has been injured. You must rest so you can get up in the morning and do your best at school. You have high ideals, but I must be a realist. I promise that you won’t have to deal with this poor, sick Mrs. Schmidt much longer. You may have some handicaps, but she is completely wrong about you being inferior, and about you having to accept anything you don’t want to. You go to sleep, now. I need to call Mrs. Sinclair and talk this over with her.”
Original Text ©2022, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.