The story so far:
"You spend time with Isabel? You spend time with her, all right," sneered Regina to Gladis. "Mujer, you always snap at her when she's doing something wrong. You don't praise her when she does good."
"Yeah, why, Gladis?" challenged Mauricia.
Gladis gave the answer. "Isabel's autism is just a pure show. She's crazy."
A pure show? What on earth was wrong with Gladis? Didn't she have any idea that autism was a disability and not a front? She knew her daughter Isabel was special in a lot of ways, including playing the piano quite beautifully and making name tags out of fabric, thanks to the help of Bertica.
Gladis went on. "Jose Alexander believes that Isabel's autistic, but I don't. I think she wants attention. That's why it's a pure show."
Dario snarled, "It's a pure show my foot!"
Oh, brother, Elisabeth thought to herself. This has turned into a fiasco instead of a roundtable discussion. Out loud she said, "Gladis, please stop putting down Isabel just because she has autism. You have to accept it just like Jose Alexander is accepting it. "
Adela spoke for Gladis. "I don't think she has to. She should put Isabel in an institution! She can't be taking care of a whiny brat like her!"
An institution? What the devil was wrong with Adela? Instititutions for people with autism were the last thing on anyone's mind right now!
Eric raised an eyebrow. "Adela, we don't want to talk about institutions right now, okay? Isabel deserves to be home with her mother who needs to understand that she needs to be with her!"
Adela and Gladis groaned.
A few minutes later, Ondrea greeted everyone and stopped in to see how everything was going.
"Terrible," said Elisabeth honestly. "We're talking about autism, but we're arguing about it, sweetheart."
Ondrea raised an eyebrow. "What?" Then she knew it was obvious, because Gladis and Adela looked right at her. "Oh. Gladis and Adela, please."
"Please what?" Adela asked with a scoff.
"Never mind," Ondrea said with a huff. Adela rolled her eyes, but Elisabeth said sternly, "Don't you roll your eyes at Ondrea, please."
Mauricia and Regina could not believe Elisabeth said please to someone who was nasty. No wonder where Ondrea got that from, they both thought.
Ondrea announced that the roundtable discussion needed to come to a halt for a few minutes so everyone could have cheese, hamburger, and sausage pizza that Hector and Amy prepared. There was also chicken, tuna, ham, and egg finger sandwiches, light butter popcorn, mozzarella sticks, chicken caesar salad, Diet Sprite soda, Clear American drinks, and water.
As most of them were going out, Elisabeth, Eric, and Ondrea stayed behind.
"I can't believe the discussion turned into an argument," Eric scoffed.
"Well, what did you expect, Eric?" Elisabeth said. "Adela and Gladis are not going to accept autism, but it is a part of our lives. I wish something would be done to make them really see that people with autism are not putting on pure shows."
Ondrea sure hoped so!