The wizened face pouted. “I’m going to ask Papa to make you stay.”
“Mm-hmm,” Mol said, collecting the dishes.
“Aren’t you going to say thank you?”
Mol gripped the medicine bottle tightly for a moment but didn’t turn around. “Goodbye, Mrs. Kramer.”
The old woman began to shake and sob. “Of all the ingratitude! That’s why papa says being nice to your kind is a waste. You’ll never work again.”
Mol pushed her cart out of the room. She could still hear Mrs. Kramer railing as she locked the door behind her but stopped to take a few notes before she reported to Ms. Harris.
Ms. Harris greeted Mol with a smile. “How bad was she?”
“Not too bad today,” Mol said, sitting down. “I’ve heard stories from other interns, and history books of course, but nothing prepares you for the real thing. She still believes her father is in power. I don’t think she even knows there was a war.”
“The most promising candidates get the hardest assignments.” Ms. Harris said. “I’m looking forward to your write-up. Let’s get the exit interview out of the way.”
“At the beginning of your internship you said you believed its main purpose was to impress upon candidates that to lead justly, one had to learn to serve. Do you still feel that way?”
“Yes. Though this experience reinforced compassion’s importance.”
“Did you start to feel compassion for her?”
Mol paused, wondering how honest to be. “The subject made the evils of the past viscerally real. Her complicity in perpetuating them is unquestionable. In her world, I’d likely be dead. That she’s alive and cared for just shows how compassionate society has become.”
I really aced that interview, Mol thought, pouring herself a glass of wine. She took her glass to her apartment’s large picture window and looked out at the city. She didn’t feel anything close to compassion for Ida Kramer. But she was grateful for a world where compassion was an option...if not today, maybe someday.
|Photo by Jonas Kaiser on Unsplash|
Song Choice: Those Were The Days
This flash fiction piece was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings Prompt, Things Were Different Back Then.