Scene 18: Yogurt and Courage
Karen looked up at Mama and said, “I’m sorry, but I’ve lost my appetite,” as she pushed away the yogurt carton.
“Oy vey, my Krana Layala, you look more upset than you did after the clinic. What’s wrong? I thought you were going to take a few minutes to relax.”
“I did, Mama. I locked myself in a stall in the ladies’ room, but then something terrible happened. Mrs. Pinzetti and Mrs. DeLuca came in, and…”
Her heart felt as if it were on fire, as she told Mama what she had overheard. Mrs. DeLuca changed her test scores to give her a low IQ. Mrs. Pinzetti exaggerated her CP so she looked hopelessly paralyzed. Now, Mrs. Pinzetti wanted to push her into a nervous breakdown. Then the doctors could give her electroconvulsive shock therapy. It would turn her into a vegetable, and Mama into a nervous wreck, who would agree to anything, even to amputating an arm and a leg.
As she spoke, Mama’s face went pale and sweat broke out on her forehead. She frowned and pursed her lips.
“My Krana Layala, know this: none of that is going to happen. Now that I’m onto them, I can stop them. There’s nothing they can do without my permission. How do you feel about standing up to Mrs. Pinzetti?”
“Mama, if I could stand up to Mrs. Schmidt, I can stand up to Mrs. Pinzetti. I have to stop these evil experts. If they want to do this to me, can you imagine what they will do to Tammy?”
Mama raised her eyebrows, as if she were stretching her face to relax it. Without speaking, she took a clean, white handkerchief out of her purse and patted her forehead. She opened her compact and powdered her face, then put on more lipstick.
Karen watched, and asked, “Mama, how come you’re so quiet?”
“Because I want to make sure everything goes right for you. Here, use my hairbrush to fix your hair. We are going into battle, so we need to look sharp. I can talk to Principal Stephie, later, but right now we have to face these monsters. Besides, she may not be able to do anything. These experts have a lot of power. She can’t just run them out of the building. This is going to be a battle of wits. We need to stay calm. No more Sarah Heartburn. Okay, my Krana Layala?”
“Okay, Mama, I’m ready for anything.”
“That’s my girl. Now, eat your yogurt. You’ll need your strength for this.”
Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.