The Healing Horse, Ch. 22, Scene 7: The Waiver

image of old-fashioned oak secretary deskThis scene focuses on little Kitten’s memories of how confident she felt a few months before, and how desperately afraid she is now.

(Image courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 7: The Waiver

Karen opened the front door and trudged down the hall. The house smelled wonderful, like chicken soup. Stopping by the door to Mama’s bedroom, she saw the waiver forms filed in a pigeonhole above the desk. With a deep sigh, she reflected back to the day near the end of the previous term, when Mrs. Pinzetti had sent her home with the forms.

“Come this way with me, please,” Mrs. Pinzetti had said in her most syrupy voice, as she led Karen into her office. “Signing this waiver will make life easier for your Mama. There’s no need for her to take time off work to attend your clinic and evaluation. Everything we do is routine. Don’t worry about it, Sugar.”

When she brought the waiver home, she was full of confidence. She was twelve, going on thirteen. She had met Pegasus and had him as a mentor and friend. She had given the papers to Mama, and Mama had seemed relieved to get them.

“You’re sure this is okay with you, Krana Layala? You’re sure you can handle the clinic and evaluation on your own? You’re twelve years old, now, so maybe it’s time.”

“Yes, Mama, I can handle anything now, and I’m almost thirteen. Besides, I have Pegasus.”

Bringing her mind back to the present, she thought, If only I had listened when my intuition warned me that Mrs. Pinzetti was being too nice. If only Mama hadn’t signed those papers. If only she hadn’t given up her right to be at the clinic. How am I going to face those experts in white coats, all alone? How am I going to defend myself? I’m only a little girl, but I don’t want to hurt Mama’s feelings by telling her how I feel.

Mama’s warm voice came to her from the kitchen and brought her back into the present. “Krana Layala, are you home? Did I hear you come in?”

Karen tried to answer, but she could not speak. She tried to walk to the kitchen, but her legs would not move. Anxiety paralyzed her. After a moment, she felt her mother’s warm hands on her shoulders. She looked up. Mama’s brown eyes overflowed with tears.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong? Why are you standing here? Are you okay?”

“I’m very worried about the clinic and evaluation tomorrow.”

“I’ve been thinking about them, too, and I wish I could be there, but I didn’t request time off work. Signing that waiver seemed like the right thing to do a few months ago. We both felt that you could handle anything. Remember?”

“Yes, Mama, I remember, but now I’m not so sure.”

They talked more over dinner, and both got ready for bed full of worry.

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

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