The Healing Horse, Ch. 24: The Evaluation, Scene 1: You’ll Never Walk Alone

image of movie poster for Rodgers & Hammerstein's CarouselThis scene begins Chapter 24, which is all about the psychological evaluation that the school puts Karen through. She and her mother both know that the experts want to make her look retarded, but she refuses to go along with them.

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Scene 1: You’ll Never Walk Alone

As one o’clock approached, Karen and her Mama bussed their cafetorium trays and walked out into the deserted hallway. Karen’s butterflies returned, as memories of the horrors Mrs. Pinzetti and Mrs. DeLuca planned squeezed her heart. 

Mama looked down at her and said, “Hum along with me, my Krana Layala. Have no fear. I am by your side.”

Mama hummed. Karen joined in, as they walked. The lyrics of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song swelled her heart with courage. She knew them by heart.

When you walk through a storm hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.*

They stopped in front of the door to the Physical Therapy room. As Mama lifted her hand to knock, the door opened, and the aroma of freshly baked lasagna flowed out. It smelled almost as good as Mama’s. One of the ladies from the school kitchen pushed an aluminum rack loaded with pastel cafeteria trays and dirty dishes by them. Karen held the door open for her.

“I’m glad you enjoyed your lunch,” the lady called back to the experts.“We wouldn’t want you to have to eat the same thing the students get or sit in the cafetorium with them. Someone will bring you fresh coffee and cookies later. We’ll bake the cookies, just before we bring them!”

Karen watched as the cook with her rack of trays disappeared down the hall. She looked up at Mama, whose slight frown said she was mildly annoyed. She would not reveal that she was furious. The experts got special treatment even from the kitchen, and the cooks knew the food they served the children was not good enough for adults. 

Mrs. Pinzetti approached with her phony smile on her face.

*Lyrics quoted from

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

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