Answering the Foot Phone
This was supposed to be about a child's fake injury....now it's about everything?
Will and I were awakened by the sound of Ligaya shrieking at 4 a.m.—sharp, short, high-pitched daggers in our ears. I shot up and wondered where the hell I was, why Ligaya was even in this room with us. It took a few seconds to orient myself, to remember that she was sleeping on the floor of an unfamiliar bedroom, in a rented house on the Oregon Coast. We were here for Labor Day weekend with friends; just beyond our bedroom door there were six other children and six other adults sleeping. I could see the Pacific Ocean out the window. Ligaya’s shrieking intensified—something about her foot.
I went to her and, in the hopes of getting her to go immediately back to sleep, decided to take her pain very seriously. “Yes, yes, I believe you,” I murmured as I lay down next to her. I massaged her foot, applied lotion (actually a not inexpensive facial serum hastily taken from my toiletry bag in the dark), put a kitty cat sock on it, kissed it over and over. She drifted off and I figured that was that.
Four hours later, she woke up for the day. She stood up then crumpled to the floor. She limped and crawled her way into the kitchen, to the dining room at the center of the house. “I can’t walk,” she cried out, her voice echoing through the hallways. And for the next nine hours, she didn’t.