The Healing Horse, Ch. 20, Scene 4: Tammy Understands

image of van gogh's painting "rain"After enduring the disdain and disrespect of the school psychologist, little Karen turns to her friend, Tammy, for comfort. (Painting “Rain” by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Scene 4: Tammy Understands

On the school bus, her friend Tammy always sat right behind the driver. She leaned against the wall of the bus with her legs straight out in front of her. This meant she took up a whole seat, but it felt good after having her knees bent all day at school, so no one objected. Karen sat behind her, so they could talk.

“I had a session with Dr. Muñoz, today!”

“Oh, boy!” Tammy squealed. “Tell me about it. Did he ask you what color the sun is?”

Karen felt her tension release, the moment she heard Tammy’s voice. She giggled. Anxiety had distorted her hearing since she followed Dr. Muñoz down the hallway. Tammy’s words were the first she had heard clearly and without distortion since that morning.

“It all started with me walking slower than he wanted me to. He hurried down the hall to his office and expected me to keep up. You know how tall he is. Even if I had two good legs, I couldn’t keep up with him. Then, he put me into that cell he calls his office. Everything in it was lined up, organized, and sterile. He stared at me like I wasn’t human and talked down to me like I was stupid.”

Tammy interrupted to ask, “But did he ask you what color the sun was?”

“No, but he asked me how the rain came down!”

Tammy laughed, and her laughter soothed Karen’s heart. They chatted, Tammy sympathized, and the ride passed. Karen felt her nerves relax, but her mind would not let go of its questions about how she could measure up to the experts’ standards.

Original Text ©2022, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

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