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Poem: "The Price of Freedom" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Price of Freedom"
This poem came out of the August 7, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "blood" square in my 6-4-18 Dark Fantasy card for the Winteriron Bingo Adventure fest. Based on an audience poll, this is the free epic for the September 4, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Note: This poem contains reference to a past injury from a bicycle mishap.  Despite copious amounts of blood, nobody was seriously hurt.


"The Price of Freedom"


When Millaray arrives for
her fourth meeting with Dr. G,
she has three butterfly stitches
on her chin, and above them,
an enormous grin.

She bounces so much
that the carpet creaks
underneath her feet.

"Well, you look like
you had an adventure,"
Dr. G says. "Would you
like to tell me about it?"

"Yes!" Millaray exclaims,
dumping herself into a chair.

Her foster parents follow
at a more sedate pace,
but they, too, are smiling.

"Mums and Pops found me
a tutor for echolocation," she says.
"It's so exciting! I'm learning to ride
a bike and everything. But he
warned us there would be blood,
and yeah, it went just everywhere."

"Head wounds can do that," Dr. G says.
"They usually look a lot worse than
they really are. So then what?"

"Pops took me to the clinic
so they could tape up my face,"
Millaray says. "The doctor was nice
but one of the nurses was real mean
and threatened to take me away
from my new family."

"Oh, dear," says Dr. G.
"How did you handle that?"

"I told her it's part of a program
and if she didn't like it then she
could call you," Millaray says.

Elwyn signs, and Cecilia translates
for him, "Then I stepped in and asked if
the nurse had any practical objections
or was just whining because a blind girl
simply decided to do something that
sighted girls get to do all the time."

Dr. G laughs. "What did she do?"

"Well, she got all huffy about it,
but that attracted the attention of
the doctor we saw and he helped us
work out a plan," Cecilia translates.

"That was kind of cool," Millaray says.
"We told the doctor about the program
and how often kids get hurt in training.
It's not that much worse than any sport!
Then he wanted to know if I knew first aid,
so I could take care of myself in case
I got hurt while I was playing alone."

"Do you?" Dr. G asks her.

"Not yet, but now I'm learning!"
Millaray says, bouncing in her seat.
"The hospital has a class on it. Plus
Mums is taking advanced first aid
because she already knows
the basic and for kids stuff."

Cecilia chuckles. "Yes, the staff
at the clinic were quite surprised
to find out how many first aid certs
I had, and then embarrassed that
they didn't have an instructor who
knew how to teach a blind person.
Well, I used to collect certs just so
people had to learn how to teach them!"

Millaray's mischievous giggle makes
Dr. G suspect that she might take up
that collection on her own soon.

"I'm glad you found people to teach
what you need to know," says Dr. G.
"You don't mind the extra lessons?"

"Nah," says Millaray. "My teacher told me
that running into a pole is a drag, but never
being allowed to run into a pole is a disaster.
Pain is part of the price of freedom."

"Well, he's not wrong," says Dr. G.
"You have the same right as anyone else
to get into scrapes and learn from them --
and how to tell people who try to keep you
wrapped in cotton when they shouldn't."

Millaray spouts a string of words
that Dr. G can't understand
but sound downright acidic.

Cecilia laughs.

"All right, what's
the joke?" Dr. G says.

"Mums and Pops found me
a Mapuche tutor and a club for
online practice," Millaray says,
wiggling her fingers like typing.
"But they won't teach me any of
the naughty words, so I just yell
the names of flowers in Mapuche
and nobody knows they're not swears."

Dr. G grins back at her. "You know,
I do exactly the same thing in Esperanto
except I name vegetables that I don't like."

"I told you it was a good trick,"
Millaray says to Cecilia.

"It's a very good trick,"
Cecilia agrees.

"It sure sounds like
you three are bonding
well already," says Dr. G.
"Ready for the paperwork?"

They're redoing some things
that Heidi Langenberg had done
before referring the family here,
to compare Millaray's relationship
with her new foster parents
against her birth father.

Dr. G feels confident that in
measuring Millaray's happiness,
he'll see a lot of smiley faces.

* * *

Notes:

"Running into a pole is a drag, but never being allowed to run into a pole is a disaster," he writes. "Pain is part of the price of freedom."
-- Daniel Kish

"If you happen to be blind and want to live a bold, stereotype-smashing life, there will be blood." I witness this firsthand when I spend a day mountain biking with Bushway and Ruiz.
-- Daniel Kish

There are classes and general tips for teaching children about first aid. Just start narrating first aid every time they have a complaint, and they'll learn the steps naturally as they grow old enough to remember what you're saying. Whenever they start showing interest, you can move up to lessons with demonstrations.

Adult classes cover things like basic first aid, advanced first aid, basic babysitting safety, and pediatric CPR. In Terramagne-America, many people collect certifications on topics that interest them, so having a whole set like this isn't rare.

Family dynamics may be assessed in various ways. Here is a Child-Parent Relationship Scale and its scoring. This is a Father Engagement Scale and its instructions. Here is a Children's Happiness Scale. Another useful tool with young children is a Happy-OK-Sad Scale, which children can use to show how they feel about topics on a list such as their parents, house, or school.

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