She screams and grabs her left arm with her right hand. Adult hands crowd my vision, my dad's and the coach’s, each automatically reaching out to help. I push their hands aside, my eyes finding the spot Claire has grabbed. Her elbow.
I don’t have to look at her right elbow to know that her left elbow is already bigger than it should be. I meet my dad’s eyes.
“The hospital's just a few blocks away. I’ll go get the car.” He jogs away.
I look back to Claire. She’s quiet now, her cries soft, but that’s going to end as soon as I pick her up. My insides twist, seeing my daughter in such pain and knowing that in order to get her help, I’m going to have to make it worse.
“I’m going to pick you up and take you to the hospital. Mommy loves you so much, and I’m going to make everything better.”
Claire’s gaze is frightened, but wide and trusting.
I’m gentle when I touch her. Gentle when I place one arm under her knees and another under her back. She whimpers the second I shift her. Using her right hand she keeps her left arm locked in place by her side and cries quietly.
With Claire secured to my front, I move through the crowd of concerned parents and children, delivering half-hearted promises to email them when we know the extent of the injury. I nod to the coach as we pass. He gives me a tight smile.
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