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193 41 ~ Pippa Pippa watched the back of Emily’s brown jacket weave between rows of chairs towards the phone booth. Watched her long legs step over outstretched boots, mounds of heaped winter coats, crumpled bags of take-out fries. When Emily was inside the booth, Pippa leaned down to check her ankle where the red raised marks were fading. Emily had insisted that Pippa keep the sock between her skin and the rubber ankle strap. It was too dangerous to fool around with an allergy, she said. You couldn’t manipulate the immune system without consequences. Maybe Emily couldn’t, but Pippa could. If the hives were gone by the time the doctors got around to seeing her, she and Emily would both be in big trouble. Emily could lose her job for lying to Nan. Pippa looked at the closed door of the telephone booth, then at the Ladies Room sign on the other end of the waiting area. At the bathroom sink, Pippa took off her boot and sock, pushed the fleece cuff and long johns as far up her leg as possible, put her bare foot into the sink. She turned on the faucet full blast, splashing water on the ankle monitor and her skin. The sink filled, and she let her ankle and foot soak as long as she dared. What if someone else walked into the bathroom? She dried herself with paper towels, except around the monitor strap. The rash would look worse if her skin stayed damp. She left the sock off, imagining the rubber molecules burrowing through her skin. Walking back, her right foot squished with each step. She slumped down in the chair, let her head rest against the seat back and closed her eyes. Her ankle started to itch, but she could take a little discomfort. Maybe she could nap. The tingling started in her hands and feet. It spiraled around each finger, each toe, then tightened. It circled her ankles and wrists. Spiraling then squeezing. The zinging sensation climbed to her knees and thighs, her elbows and armpits. By then 194 ~ House Arrest her lips and tongue and earlobes were thick and sleepy and prickly. Hornets buzzed in her ears, whirred until they roared. They raced against her heartbeat, stinging and squeezing. The tingling became bursts of impossible light, sparkles marching through her stomach, burning up all the air. There was something wrong with her eyes too. A dreadful shimmering. Electric sparks that illuminated armies of dying embers in rows. Strobe flashes of radiance. The oscillating dazzles rode her blood and nerve highways. They gathered in her chest, where they ricocheted against each other, sucked up every bit of air, squirreled along her ribs, crawled behind her breastbone. Finally they imploded into a solid mass, a furry animal caught in a blind trap, scratching and clawing and biting to get out, get air. Get air. Pippa sat upright, leaned forward to grab her knees. Her hands clenched. They were heavy and cold. But electric too, still tingling with the sparkles circling her muscles up and down her body and squeezing to the unbearable pace of her pulse. She tried to breathe around the thick animal wool blocking her airways, igniting her heartbeats, avalanching her ears and eyes up into her brain which wouldn’t help her, wouldn’t tell her mouth to call for help, to call Emily or the nurse or even the woman still sitting two seats down cradling a red faced infant. She turned to the woman, tried to reach out, felt herself falling. ...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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