An Excerpt from Rockybado 4
From Rockybado 4: Running Up a Hill
It was David’s senior year in high school, and Brody’s junior year. They were both on the tennis team, and so was Adam Levistad. With this in mind, it was right in the middle of tennis season, and the boys’ tennis team had a tournament today. This was the fourth tournament in this season, and the boys were excited about hopefully doing well today.
Except for Brody.
David’s younger brother had been sick for a little over a week, causing him to miss this past Tuesday and Wednesday and come back to school on Thursday. Because Brody didn’t miss school on Friday, he was allowed to participate in today’s tennis tournament. However, what he thought he had did not just go away. As a matter of fact, he started feeling worse after he woke up this morning.
“Wake up, Brody,” Mrs. Ingram said as she came into the room to wake up Brody.
Thank goodness Brett was not at home at the time. He was at a university on the north side of Indianapolis. Because Brett was not at home, this meant that Brody did not have to deal with any pranks whatsoever.
“Do I have to get up?” Brody asked sleepily.
“Do you want to play tennis today?” Mrs. Ingram asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Aren’t you feeling better?”
“No, I’m not,” Brody replied even more sleepily.
“Well, what should I do?” Mrs. Ingram asked.
“I want to play, but I feel like I’m going to throw up.”
“Oh no. Let me check your temperature.”
Mrs. Ingram ran out of the bedroom and got the thermometer in the hall closet. When she returned with it, she noticed Brody lying on his back on the futon with his hands behind his head. To her, this might not have been a good sign. Mrs. Ingram gave Brody the thermometer to put under his tongue. After a minute or two of waiting, it was time to see the results.
“Would you like to know if you have a fever or not?” Mrs. Ingram asked her son.
“Sure. Go ahead and tell me,” Brody answered.
“So, I don’t have a fever?”
“No. It’s about what it’s supposed to be,” Mrs. Ingram replied.
“I think I’ll try practicing and see how I am after that,” Brody remarked.
“Sounds like a plan. If you’re at the point where you feel really sick, let me know.”
“Now, I’ll need to take you, David, and Adam to practice today since Adam’s mom is at the hospital visiting her friend who just had a baby.”
Brody slowly got out of bed. He was still feeling nauseous, but he thought that it would be a good idea to at least show up to practice and see how he felt during the day. He put on some clothes and tried to make himself look at least a little presentable. Five minutes later, Brody threw up, but he thought he was going to feel better throughout the day.
He sat inside the bathroom for about ten minutes because he wanted to be close to the heater. Also, Brody was waiting to feel a little better so that he could still play today. He then came downstairs and ate a few saltine crackers, but he didn’t feel like eating much else. Brody did not talk to anyone at the table; he was only hoping that he wouldn’t throw up again today.
“You’re really not feeling well at all today, are you?” Mr. Ingram asked his fourth son.
Brody slowly shook his head.
“Should he stay home today, Marsha?”
“We both agreed that he would call me if he gets really sick,” Mrs. Ingram answered her husband.
“Whatever you say. He does not look well to me.”
“I seriously think he should stay home,” Mr. Ingram remarked in his somewhat thick British accent.
“This has happened to him before, and he was able to pull through,” Mrs. Ingram said.
“I’ll be fine,” Brody finally stated.
“You sure, hon?”
“I think so.”
“If you say so.”
David was feeling fine; he actually wasn’t sick at all this week. And neither was anyone else. For some very odd reason, Brody was the only one in the family who had actually gotten sick. And he was really sick this time around. Of course, Mr. Ingram wasn’t sure if Brody would be able to make it through practice. And Mrs. Ingram believed that he could get better throughout the day.
Let’s see how today goes.
Mrs. Ingram picked up Adam from his house, since he doesn’t live too far away from the Ingram’s house on Garfield Court. Adam and David, of course, started talking. Brody, however, did not feel like conversing with anyone. He just stared out the window and hoped to the Good Man that this would all pass.
Fifteen minutes later, due to random and unnecessary traffic, David, Brody, and Adam were at the high school, ready to play tennis. The two older boys walked over to some fellow tennis players and started conversing with them. Brody, on the other hand, did not talk to anyone, since he was not feeling well at all.
Normally, he would be talking a mile a minute with everyone on the tennis team. But, at the moment, Brody’s stomach hurt, and he didn’t know why he was at the high school today.
Brody decided that he should at least try to practice with the team. The practice time seemed like a complete blur, as in the fact that it had gone by so quickly. But, at the same time, it seemed like forever that Brody’s match was going to end. He played against one of his teammates for about an hour.
When he just finished his practice match with one of his teammates, Colin Nichols, Brody started feeling sick again. He was afraid to run to the bathroom because he didn’t want to risk throwing up in front of the Good Man and everyone else. Instead, he slowly walked to the school and headed toward the men's bathroom.
There was no one in the men’s bathroom, so Brody made himself as comfortable as possible. He entered a stall, closed the door behind him, and sat on the floor. Brody really did not want to throw up, but he didn’t think that he had any choice whatsoever. For fifteen long minutes, he just sat there thinking about everything, but nothing at the same time. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to get sick today, but he also didn’t want to get any sicker than he already was.
Brody started throwing up all of a sudden.
Between bouts that lasted about two minutes, he rested his head in his arms, which lay comfortably on top of the seat. Brody thought that it would be good for him to come home, but he didn’t want to miss this tournament. Since he loves to play tennis so much, and missing one tournament could mean the end of the world.
Well, not really.
A few minutes later, during a bout of throwing up, two football players came into the men's bathroom. The first thing that they heard was the sound of Brody throwing up. The two football players, named Javon Peterson and DeShaun Golding, wanted to help the poor guy out, but at first they weren’t quite sure who was in the closed stall “worshipping the porcelain idol.”
But then they knew.
“Brody?” Javon called the boy’s name.
“Hello?” Brody replied quietly.
“You okay in there?”
“No. I’m puking my guts out, and I feel like I’m going to die.”
“Oh dude. Would you like us to get you something? Like a drink or something?” Javon offered.
“Can you get a drink from a vending machine? I don’t care what it is,” Brody replied, even more quietly than before.
“And how did you know it was me in the stall?”
“Your hoodie’s on the floor, and it says B. Ingram on it.”
“I have some money that I could give you.”
“Don’t worry, bro. It’s on us.”
Then, Javon and DeShaun ran out of the bathroom toward the cafeteria, where the vending machines were. Brody heard the two football players making crazy high-pitched noises as they were running toward the cafeteria. After laughing to himself for a few seconds, he was hoping that this would all be over as soon as possible.
Of course, Brody threw up again.
Javon and DeShaun were running as fast as they could to the vending machine, they continued to make crazy high-pitched noises. In the cafeteria, there was another group sitting at the tables, listening “intently” to the advisors as they were describing to their group what to expect when out and about. Apparently, the group was leaving campus as well.
“WE HAVE A SICK DUDE TO TAKE CARE OF!” Javon shouted as loudly as he could.
“WOOOOOOOOOO!” DeShaun shouted louder than Javon.
The group, of course, stopped everything they were doing and gave the two football players weird looks. There must have been some understanding that Javon and DeShaun had good intentions, but why did they have to announce their intentions to the whole world? What were the advisors of the one group going to do?
Javon and DeShaun chose a light soda from the vending machine for Brody, and then they returned to the bathroom where Brody was most likely still throwing up.
“Sup, Brody?” DeShaun said after they came back.
“Sup,” Brody answered.
“Here’s your drink. Hope you like light soda.”
“Are you still gonna stay out of tennis today?” DeShaun asked.
“Probably,” Brody replied. “I already called my mom, and she’s picking me up.”
“I know. I was looking forward to tonight.”
“I hope there are more tourneys.”
“There are. I really wanted to play in this one.”
Brody didn’t feel as if he could play tennis, given the circumstances. He had already arranged for his mom to pick him up from the high school within fifteen minutes. While waiting for her, Brody stayed in the bathroom and sipped on his soda. Once his mom let him know that she had arrived, he left the bathroom and headed out of the school toward the car. After Brody and his mom would arrive home, Brody was probably going to sleep for as long as possible.
A couple hours later, David and Adam left with the rest of the tennis team for the tournament. Everyone had to have felt bad for Brody because he couldn’t participate today. While some team members formed their own conversation groups and talked about random subjects, David and Adam listened to David’s music and conversed amongst themselves.
“Sucks about Brody,” Adam said to David.
“I know. We all thought that he was getting better,” David remarked.
“Didn’t he miss a couple days of school last week?”
“Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“What was he sick with?” Adam asked.
“He had a cold, but now I guess it’s the flu,” David answered.
“Sounds like it.”
“He didn’t look well at all today.”
“No, he didn’t.”
“I’m amazed that he was able to pull a great match with Colin Nichols.”
“I am, too.”
The high school tennis teams were already at their destination. The boys got ready for today’s tournament, which, of course, was a complete blur. Then, it was time for the tournament, and everyone on the team had to get mentally ready for it.
An hour later, the tournament began.
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