The Healing Horse, Ch. 26, Scene 6: The Making of a Mean Girl

cartoon of wharf rat
Karen finds out why Claudia is so mean. 

(Image by Henry Louis Stephens, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 6: The Making of a Mean Girl

Karen told Mama about the dress exchange as they rode home.

Mama said, “Vintage Claudia, from what I hear. Krana Layala, not everyone in this world worries about making happiness. Most of them are like Claudia, but maybe a little more subtle. I feel for her mother. What would it be like to have a monster like that for a child? But then, she’s another one like Patsy, whose husband dumped her because of a disabled child. I still cry when I think about your father, but he was always there for me and for us, right up until the car crash that took him away. He was a mensch, not a rat.”

“You’re not sore that I let her take away the beautiful dress you sewed for my doll?”

“Oy vey, my Krana Layala. That’s the last thing to worry about. I can make you another. Maybe you can help sew it to improve your sewing skills and fine motor. But that’s not going to help Claudia or her mother. I owe her mother, as one mother to another, even if her kid is possessed by demons. Her mother loves Claudia and wants her to grow up happy. She needs to know what’s going on so she can take steps to help her kid. I still can’t believe her rat husband dumped her. That’s why Claudia’s so mean, you know. Maybe you don’t know, but I do. She knows she’s the reason her daddy disappeared, and she hates herself for that, for being disabled. But she can’t face the truth, so she takes her anger out on other kids with disabilities.”

“Mama, should I keep on trying to be Claudia’s friend? I thought she would be a good friend for me. I need more friends, but … “

“Let me talk with her mom. There may be a way through this. Or there may not be a way. Let me talk with her mom before we make any decisions.”

“Okay, Mama. And thanks for saying we about the decisions.”

Mama, who usually kept her eyes glued to the road, turned and looked into Karen’s. She gave her a huge smile. “That’s my girl,” she said. The phrase stuck in Karen’s mind. “That’s my girl … “

They rode the rest of the way in silence. Karen stared out the passenger side window at the beautiful afternoon. Life was good, even if it was confusing. She needed to talk with Pegasus.

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

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