It hurt, in the center of her chest, but it didn’t feel like a heart attack. That would feel like an alarm, she figured, something that kind of radiated out, came in waves.
This wasn’t like that. This felt like pushing, right in the middle of her, big fat hands giving her a shove. Only they weren’t outside. They were inside, right behind her breastbone, invisible hands pushing so hard she thought she could feel her ribs bending out. The pain was intense, the kind that should knock you to your knees, but it pushed so hard, she could swear it was actually holding her up, telling her where to go, moving her from where she was to where it wanted her to be.
She didn’t want to go near that Miller woman’s house, with her gaudy little lawn statues and stupid rainbow pinwheels. Annie Miller bought that garbage just to show off, rub it in the faces of everyone in Crowe that they had a little money, that Jerry got lucky, that they didn’t have to worry about meeting a mortgage or keeping the lights on. They had the extra to buy unnecessary shit for the yard. They were better than.
Gaddy hated better than. It was hubris, was what it was. Thinking you were better than put people like Gaddy less than, and she could handle being poor, she could handle getting fired from the Dollar Den, she could handle the looks and the whispers about her being “trouble walking.” She just couldn’t stand anyone — not her parents, not her sister, not the women at the school, and definitely not Ann fucking Miller and her stupid pinwheels — thinking they were above her, thinking they were better than.
But the invisible hands in the middle of her chest pushed again, and the fire of the push sent her staggering forward, turning the corner down Harmony Drive, toward the lawn statues, toward the pinwheels, toward Ann Miller’s house.