Chapter 19 IN THE PAPERS
Every day since my letter writing campaign, I had been checking the mailbox for any responses and every day nothing happened. I was getting a little anxious. I couldn’t hold Fred and Jane’s questions off much longer. I’d have to say something, eventually. And what if they didn’t like it? What if they got mad at me for doing what I did? What if Marney got mad at me? But, I couldn’t think of the consequences now.
When Marney and I got home, I ran to the mailbox and checked it, feeling especially lucky today.
“What are you looking for, Squirt?” Marney asked.
I couldn’t lie to her any longer, especially now that I was holding what I was looking for, right in my hands. It was a letter from a local college basketball scout. I opened it right away and I started to read it. Marney snatched it out of my hands and read it.
“Marney, I did it. I wrote to the colleges and asked them to come see you play.”
She gave me a noogie. “I already know,” Marney said.
“Ow!” I yelped and rubbed my head. “You do?”
Marney rolled into the house and I followed. “Yeah, I started getting letters a week ago from a bunch of colleges.”
“Yeah, and who else would’ve done that for me?”
“You’re not mad?”
“No. I’m not mad, Squirt. I know you’re trying to help. But, you should leave this to me. Okay?”
“Ok, but Marney? Colleges weren’t the only places I wrote to.”
“Where else did you write? And why?”
I walked over to Fred’s desk and I picked up the newspaper. “Looks like the paper wrote an article about you.”
Marney grabbed the paper from my hands. “’Local Star Wheelchair Basketball Player Considering Spinal Surgery,’” she read. “Guess who’s listed as co-writer of this article?”
“Samantha Lane Ferguson!” I yelled out my own name.
“I know you’re just trying to help, Squirt, but you gotta remember. This is my life and my decision.”
“I know and I’m sorry, but your decisions effect me too, Marney, and I just wanted to find colleges which were at least a little close by and have them come see you. If they knew how you played wheelchair basketball, they might help you get surgery so you can play for them or maybe they’d start a wheelchair basketball team of their own. If you go away, I’ll be lost forever!”
“What would you do?” Marney asked me.
Usually, I had an answer for just about everything. But this time, I didn’t know what would be right or wrong. It seemed only that there could be right and more right.
“I just want you to be able to play basketball, Marney, whenever you want, wherever you want. Without any restrictions.” I said.
“You mean, without the wheelchair,” she responded. “I made my choice, Sam. I’m not having the surgery because it’s not a guarantee and I’d rather have wheelchair basketball than no basketball at all.”
I knew she was right because she was thinking logically. But, at the same time, I wanted to be thinking positively. Maybe it wasn’t at all realistic to think she could have the best of both worlds again. But, she had it all once before. Why not again? What’s stopping her from being her full self again? Is it money or is it courage?
The phone rang. Marney picked it up. Her coach called her to tell her she was back on the team, her suspension was lifted.
“How’d that happen?” I asked her.
“He said, he read the article in the paper and knew that it was time I came back, that I’d suffered long enough,” Marney said. “Thanks, Squirt, you pulled through for me, after all. You’ve got one smart noggin.” She gave me a noogie again. I hate those so much.
Part Four – If You Want Something Bad Enough