The next Monday, Karen climbed onto the school bus and sat in the back for the ride home. Tammy had been absent from school, that day, and she wondered what had happened to her.
As the bus filled, Mr. Hinton and another bus driver carried a wheelchair holding a girl named Claudia onto the bus and set her down next to Karen. Mr. Hinton and Claudia’s mother would carry her off the bus to her home wheelchair at the other end of the ride.
Claudia had muscular dystrophy. Under her skirt and blouse, she wore a custom plaster brace made with straps so she could have it taken off at night. She was a pretty girl of medium stature, with long, brown hair that hung straight to the middle of her back and carefully trimmed bangs that dropped a little below her eyebrows. She always wore a bow hair clip to match her outfit. Her eyes were brown and her fingernails were very long and a fashionable white pearl. They stood out above everything else, like fashionable claws.
After a few minutes, Claudia asked, “Hey Karen, do you want to come over to my house this weekend and play dolls with me?”
“I’ll have to ask my Mama and give you a call. How’s that?” Karen replied.
“That’s fine,” Claudia said, as she turned her back on Karen and began teasing the boy on her other side about his learning disabilities.
Karen wondered why Claudia was inviting her over. She had a bad feeling about this.
Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.