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in the round

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If there's one thing that Madeline knows, it's that she's never been good with words. Things often come out too sharp or too flat, even when she's trying her best to be gentle. So she has no idea how she's going to break this to her sister.

The sweater — big, fluffy, and hand-knit — had been an impromptu gift from Amelia only two days prior. I wanted you to have the first one, Amelia had said first thing, smiling wide, her cheeks flushed pink with pride.

Enamoured, Maddy had thought nothing of the way her hands began to itch as she pulled the red and white garment from its wrapping. The thought that she could be allergic to Amelia's gift — made with 'the awesomest Alpaca wool,' in Amelia's own words — hadn't crossed her mind.

Until now, two hours after wearing the sweater for the first time.

Everywhere the soft fabric touched her is blotchy, red, and inflamed. The rash spirals over her torso and arms, creeping up her neck and down to the backs of her hands. It’s not at all pretty, and Madeline frowns at herself in her full-length bathroom mirror. She thinks of all the ways she could broach the subject before finally reaching for her cell and snapping a photo.

I love you, Madeline’s text message reads later, underneath a picture of her splotchy, pale belly. But I think I’m allergic to Alpaca. :(