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46 8 ~ Pippa Pippa had never been to an obstetrician. Too bad she couldn’t keep it that way. Friday morning, she sat between the cats on the living room sofa waiting for Emily Klein. From the kitchen drifted the small clinking sounds of Marshall washing the breakfast dishes. At the dining room table, the twins bickered as they mixed paper maché for their relief map. “That’s not enough water,” Timothy said. “It has to be thick, Dummy. So the mountains will stand up.” Pippa cupped her hands over the slight bulge of her middle, hoping for another quivery message from inside. She was fifteen weeks along and two days ago she had felt the first flutter of this baby. When did it start with Abby, that first distant watery tumble? Pippa searched the Goddess’s features in the painting over the mantel; they seemed alive in the flickering candle flames. “How can I dance for you,” she asked the painting, “without risking my baby?” Isis looked back with molten eyes. Pippa couldn’t read her expression. At least she knew what the cats wanted. With one hand she stroked Bast’s sleek blue-black fur. With the other she scratched behind Newark’s ears, making his guttural purr even louder. As if he could read her sorrow, Newark opened his eyes, stretched and climbed onto her lap. He didn’t have Bast’s regal bearing, but Newark always seemed to know when she was mourning Abby. His nose nuzzled along the denim jumper over her breasts, tender already, and into the valley of her neck before curling up. She stroked his back until the lamenting purr returned. She tried not to think about the doctor’s appointment. Ma’s voice buzzed inside her head. It don’t help one tad to fret about something you can’t control, she used to say, so you might as well think about something nice. But Pippa couldn’t come up Ellen Meeropol ~ 47 with a single cheerful thought. She tried to remember what Emily said on Wednesday , about the button-back chairs being valuable. Emily might be book smart, but what did she know about important things, like growing a baby when all the time the court planned to take him away? What could she possibly understand about losing a child? No matter how much she loved her cousin’s kid, it just wasn’t the same. And no way could Emily get it, how responsible Pippa felt about not letting Isis down, or the family, with Tian in jail. Newark rolled over, presenting his velvet belly to be rubbed. What good was responsibility, when you had no idea about how to fulfill it? The solstice was crucial, and she couldn’t figure out how to dance at the ceremony without getting caught. And all this worry had to be bad for her baby. She looked down at the rug, off-white with a design of grape leaves weaving through a bamboo trellis. The coffee table had been placed slightly off-center covering a pale purple stain. She imagined someone sloshing half a bottle of Chianti across the rug at a party. The blemish hardly showed on the grapes, but on the beige background the splashes stood out like old blood. Maybechantingwouldhelp.“Wegrowfromyourearth;weshareyourfruits,”she sang, her voice growing stronger with each word. “Your wings protect us. Strengthened by your power, we reach for the stars.” She really should be sitting cross-legged on the floor, but even this early in the pregnancy it wasn’t easy to get up once she was down. Her center of gravity had already shifted, settled somewhere closer to the earth. The pregnancy had been so different with Abby; how light she had felt even at the end. Her cells remembered the warmth of Abby’s infant skin and the memory was unbearable. She looked at Isis, wings luminous in the flickering of the candles on the mantel, imagining herself and this baby safe in the goddess’ embrace. The toot of a horn jerked Pippa’s attention to the small green car at the curb. Being a nurse must not pay so well. But Pippa would be happy to own any car. The family had an old van, the roof pockmarked from a hailstorm last year. Most of the time it was parked in the garage waiting for Marshall to fiddle with some little thing not worth paying someone to fix. After settling Newark in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781597094429
Related ISBN
9781597094993
MARC Record
OCLC
835770696
Pages
216
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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