Chapter 13 THE LAW OF GRAVITY
Journal Topic #20 At night I like to-
At night I like to pretend there is no such thing as gravity and I can float off wherever I want. There is so much more world to see. I would visit the stars and maybe even Mars. I like to imagine myself free of the laws of gravity and even in my dreams, I can fly. When I do that, I can control every motion with my mind. I don’t have to flap my arms like a bird. I just think if I want to go down or up and when I’m landing, I just put my legs down and I can land and be stable on my own two legs again. But, the flying part, that’s really the best.
Today’s the day. Marney said she would go with me to that Health Expo where the doctor is speaking about conditions like Marney’s. I hope she doesn’t back out of it. Fred is taking us and everything. It will be good to look into these new techniques.
“No. I’m not going,” Marney said as she threw a small basketball into a hoop on her wall.
“But, you promised,” I retorted. “I arranged everything. Fred’s going to drive us there. Everything is arranged. You promised.” I looked at her with angry eyes.
“Why do you want this so bad, Sam?” she asked.
“Why don’t you?” I answered, a little beaten.
Fred knocked on Marney’s door. “Ready, Ladies?”
“No,” Marney answered.
“Not yet,” I said. “Marney, give it a chance. Good things are happening. You wanted to meet Zack and poof, like magic, you met him. Sure you had to get suspended from school and then fired first, but something good came out of that.”
Marney started to see reason, I think. She didn’t protest right away. “But, Squirt, you don’t understand. I’ve looked at all this before and it’s been nothing but disappointment. I don’t want you to get your hopes up.”
“Maybe that’s the problem, Marney,” I replied, “maybe we have too little hope.”
Another knocking sounded at the bedroom door. “Just a minute!” Marney and I both shouted in unison.
“Oh, yeah, sorry.” That was the voice of Zack.
Marney and I looked at each other and went to the door. Marney opened it. “Zack?” She looked out.
I peeked around the corner and then ran into the living room. Zack was seated on the couch and as Marney rolled in, he stood up. “Hi,” he said.
“What are you doing here?” Marney asked.
“I just thought I’d drop by and see how you were. Your dad says you’re going to that health expo.”
“Yeah, we are, so we don’t really have time to chat,” I said to him.
“Sam!” Marney shouted.
“What?” I replied.
Zack jumped in, “I’m going too. When your dad said you were going, I thought it would be cool. Maybe we could all ride together or...I’d be happy to take you.”
“In what?” Marney asked.
“In my truck,” he replied, “it’s just outside.” He pointed out the front door.
“Oh really?” I said, “I thought it was in the kitchen.”
Marney was not happy with my sarcasm. But, on the plus side, it did mean that she was going and that she’d keep her promise. Zack saves the day, again. Yee-haw.
The Health Expo was humongous! There was every kind of green gobby food and drink on the planet and maybe a few from Mars, too. We walked around for what seemed like hours in this endless maze of booths and health nuts, doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, magnet people, crystal people, gurus of every shape and kind. I felt like I had just walked into an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9. Maybe I was hallucinating after drinking that bottle of Kombucha. They said it was tea, but I swear my legs got loopy.
Finally, it was time for the doctor’s talk on Spinal Injuries. We all walked over to the section where that event was being held. I was surprised that there weren’t too many people there. We rolled up to the front of the room. Zack moved a chair away so Marney could put her wheelchair there. I sat next to Marney and Zack sat to my right.
The doctor’s speech was interesting, but even with my level of smarts, I still didn’t get it all. I still had a lot of questions and the doctor was very willing to answer them. He even took Marney, Zack and me to a little booth he had set up nearby and showed us something really really cool.
“Marney,” the doctor said, “today, I want to give you something special for coming to hear me speak.” He picked up what looked like a bicycle helmet.
“She doesn’t need a bicycle helmet, Doctor,” I said.
He laughed. “It’s not a bicycle helmet. It’s the latest in virtual reality technology and I use it for my paraplegics and paralyzed patients. It’s not a cure. It’s just an opportunity to feel your legs again.”
“Feel my legs?” Marney asked excitedly.
The doctor smiled. I looked at Marney. Marney looked at Zack who smiled back at her and gestured for her to go try it.
“Do it,” I said.
Marney rolled over to the machine and the doctor placed the helmet on her head. It fit over her eyes and everything--built in glasses, too.
The doctor turned the machine on and suddenly I saw Marney’s whole body jump a little.
“Her legs moved!” I shouted.
The doctor responded, “Perhaps, but this is not medicine. It’s not even physical therapy. This is mental therapy. Getting her body to relax and let go of the idea of the injury.”
“Can she hear us? Maybe we shouldn’t discuss this around her. Wouldn’t it confuse the illusion?” Zack asked.
“No, she can’t hear us. It’s not a problem. Inside that helmet is a whole new world. She’s walking, she’s swimming, jumping, whatever she wants. It has all the senses, sights, smells, sounds of the world outside, except she can walk.”
“She can feel like she’s walking?” I asked.
“Yes, she can feel everything,” the doctor replied.
“So, it’s any world she wants?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” the doctor asked.
“Can she be floating in space?” I asked.
“She sure can. If she wants to, she can even float in space.”
“Wow! Me next!” I shouted.
“Well, Young Lady, it’s not a toy. This is used strictly for my patients. I brought it today to introduce it to possible new patients.”
The doctor seemed to be getting annoyed with me. I wondered why.
“Are your parents with you?” He looked at me, smiled and then looked around the room expecting me to point someone out to him.
“Nope. Just us.” I looked around and Zack was gone.
The doctor turned off the machine and removed the helmet from Marney’s head. Marney had tears in her eyes and a big smile on her face.
The doctor looked at Marney, “Are you ok?”
Marney looked at him and smiled, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Young Lady.” He handed her a business card and said, “Please give this card to your parents. Here’s a brochure too and feel free to drop by my office so we can discuss the new treatments and advancements in surgery, in more detail. I would like the opportunity to review your case, if you want me to.”
Marney looked like she’d just seen an angel. I was happy that she was happy.
“Where’s Zack?” she asked.
“I don’t know. He was here a minute ago.” I stated. “Want me to go find him?” I started to walk away.
“Hey, hey, don’t wander off without me,” she said. “We probably shouldn’t go too far away from the booth. He’ll probably have an easier time of finding us if we stay put.”
I smirked. “But, for how long? I don’t want to just stand there. There’s all sorts of wacky stuff to look at and try.”
Like I said, I like biology and this convention center looked like a great big biology experiment. It was pretty cool.
“Oh! Look at that, Marney!”
I ran off to look at a great big blow up monkey doll inside of a monkey space ship.
Marney rolled quickly after me, “I told you not to run off!”
The people at this booth are what you call animal rights activists. I’m not sure what they meant with the blow up monkey doll inside the spaceship, but they had all sorts of nasty videos playing showing sick animals. “Little girl,” one of them called to me, “do you eat meat?”
“Yes,” I told him.
“Well, meet your meat!” he called as he pulled out what seemed to be a dead chicken with its feathers gone and big lumps on it.
I shrunk back in disgust. Marney pulled me away from the booth, “Come on, let’s get out of here and find Zack.”
We didn’t need to look much further because there he was, just a couple of tables down selling some kind of diet drink, swarmed by a group of pretty girls. He was autographing the sample cups he gave them. Some actor! We went up to him.
“What are you doing?” Marney asked him.
Zack shooed away the last girl with a drink and a smile. He turned to Marney, “I am the official spokesperson for this diet drink. I sell it on TV and my contract says I have to be here at the Health Expo for a couple hours. Giving autographs, samples, you know...”
Marney didn’t seem too happy about that but I could tell she wasn’t going to get mad. I started to pull on her arm to tug her away. “It’s okay, Marney, it can be just you and me now. We can explore for a while.”
“Okay, Squirt, let’s go.” Marney looked at Zack, “We’ll be back in an hour or so.”
Zack saluted her and then turned to greet the long line of cute girls waiting to talk to him and get his autograph. The giggling seemed to give Marney the same reaction that nails would have on a chalkboard.
Other cool things we visited were booths with signs that stated, “See a thought,” and “Food Games,” and then there was, “Watch your blood in action!” Marney got queasy at that last booth. Funny, you would think that she wouldn’t mind a little bloodshed. I mean, okay, basketball is not exactly a bloodsport, but there were plenty of scrapes and cuts before the big injury.
We were about to go back to Zack’s booth when I suddenly felt the urge to use the bathroom and I was desperate. I looked about the great hall and I saw no signs for the bathroom. Marney and I went along a little while and I finally just asked someone where it was. The lady pointed the way and I told Marney, “I’m sorry Marney, but I have to run,” and I did.
I could hear Marney call out to me as she rolled herself to try and keep up. But, I needed to get there fast, there was no way I was going to have an accident and then get driven home in wet pants by a guy who is on TV.
When I came out of the bathroom, Marney was waiting for me outside. She was pretty mad that I didn’t wait for her. But then Zack showed up and he smiled at her, and she seemed to forget all about me running off. He walked with us to the car, helped Marney inside after me and then drove us home.
Fred was watering the lawn outside when we pulled up. He walked over the passenger door and waved, hose in hand. I waved back. Marney smiled. Zack took the wheelchair out of the back and set it up. Fred opened the door and put Marney in the wheelchair. I hopped out of the truck and ran up to the house.
“Don’t you have something to say, Young Lady?” Fred called to me.
“Thanks Zack!” I yelled back and ran inside. I wanted to get inside as fast as possible to go online and check out this doctor’s website. After seeing everything I saw at the Health Expo, I was thinking really positive that something could be done for Marney.