She felt hemmed in. Every second in this taxi was choking her. She could feel the sheen of sweat hovering over her skin. Her fingers tingled and twitched. She tried to breathe deeply, but the air was so thick.
The driver was talking about the crowds, the traffic. Suggesting alternate routes. She could hear herself responding, Sure, whatever you think best. No, no rush.
Yes, there was a rush. Get me out. They passed a hospital. She looked longingly at it, picturing the cool white beds. Slightly starchy, rough sheets. Breathe in, breathe out. Flex the fingers. Wipe sweaty palms.
The traffic thins out, as the pain radiates from the epicentre of her chest. Can you crack ribs from this pain, like a stress fracture, she wondered? The feeling that she is about to tip over the edge dances on the fringes of her vision.
Yes, thanks, up ahead on the left is fine, thanks. She falls out of the taxi like a limp noodle. Her throat hurts. Her teeth hurt. Has she been clenching her jaw again? Walk. Walk. Move forward. Say hello to the neighbour. Yes, lovely weather, isn’t it?
Unlock door. Put bag & shoes away. Wash hands. Sip some stale water. Curl up in ball on the floor, and let the silent tears out. Home.