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It’s what I expect someone to mumble as they walk by, but we’re in Louisville and the odds of me running into anyone from Bullitt County High School are low.
The waitress smiles at me when she refills my water and our eyes meet. She’s pretty. Maybe a year or two older than me. Her hair is long, but Abby’s is longer. Her eyes are brown, but Abby’s are darker. Thinking of Abby causes me to consider asking this girl out. The waitress wouldn’t be the first college girl I’ve dated and she wouldn’t be the first girl I’ve taken out because I’ve got Abby on the brain.
I wink, the waitress blushes, my mother nudges my arm in approval.
We’re at Applebee’s. All three TVs over the bar show the Reds game, and thanks to the last home run, the people in the stands are going wild. It’s crowded here, most places in Louisville are, yet my glass has never been empty. Yeah, the waitress is interested, but I’m not sure if I am.
On my left, my father tilts his head toward the guy who’s smiling like a Cheshire cat. If I should so choose, this guy could be my new baseball coach, and me flirting with a girl has to be a hell of a lot less awkward and more normal for him than what we have been discussing—my diabetes.
Type 1 to be exact and it’s obvious by how this guy continually shifts that I must be the first potential player he has had with the disease. Bet he’s regretting asking me to lunch so he could convince me to play for him. This all leads back to traitor.
“Logan’s mother and I wanted to thank you for helping us get the approval from the athletic commission for Logan to continue to play baseball.” Dad always refers to him and Mom as separate. They divorced when I was six, but most of the time they’ve found a way to stay amicable.
“Yes,” Mom chimes in. “You’ve been very helpful.”
Mom has no idea what Coach Reynolds was helpful with, but she likes to feel included. Dad sighs when Mom goes overboard in the gratitude department—thanking him for his time, for this lunch, for being here. Mom’s a free-spirited talker and Dad’s the quiet, responsible one.
Out of those traits, I inherited Dad’s conversational skills and Mom’s need for a rush. I’ve also got Mom’s brown eyes, Dad’s black hair, and a body that doesn’t produce insulin. Mom blames Dad for that, saying his negativity must have blocked one of my chakras in the womb. Dad says Mom needs her head examined. I’m with Dad on this one.
“When’s your birthday?” Mom asks the coach. “It’ll help me figure out what stars you were born under.”
“Once again, thanks for your help.” Dad jumps in to save the conversation. He’s good at keeping joint parental meetings from making an unscheduled detour into Mom’s fascination with crazy. “The state doesn’t usually like it when students switch schools.”
“Wasn’t much of a problem. You share custody.” Coach Reynolds points the knife he had cut his hamburger with in Mom’s direction. “And you live in our district.”
It also didn’t hurt that this guy wants me on his team. This lunch—I feel for him because it’s possibly in vain. I told Dad at the end of last season I wasn’t playing baseball again, but he went after the commission’s approval anyhow in case I changed my mind.
Given my track record on things, he’s not wrong. My day-by-day attitude drives Dad insane. This time around, I’m firm on a decision. I have a goal for this summer and training camps, drills and commitments to weekend-long tournaments aren’t in the plan. Late nights, crowded bars, a guitar, and a trip to Florida at the end of the summer are in my sights.
“It didn’t hurt that Bullitt County High was encouraging during the process,” Coach Reynolds continues. “There aren’t many schools in the state that can surpass Eastwick’s academics.”
And there aren’t many schools that can surpass Eastwick in sports, but my teammates from Bullitt County High and I made Eastwick cry in the state tourney this past spring. Back in May, Coach Reynolds cursed loud enough for the crowd in the stands to hear as I successfully protected home plate three times in a row—as I cost his team the state championship.
“Academics is why I’m switching schools.” After Bullitt High informed my parents that my senior year would be me, a laptop, and the library, my parents switched me to Eastwick. Me and idle time have never been a good combination. Usually ends up with me in detention, suspended, in the hospital, and once in handcuffs. In my defense, the cow followed me home so I don’t consider that stealing.
Coach Reynolds cocks his head in amusement. “Of course academics is your priority. I would expect nothing less.”
He thinks I’m being cryptic, but I’m not. Dad told him I was considering retiring and this lunch was meant to convince me to change my mind. On the record, according to Coach Reynolds, it’s not that type of lunch. Just a meet and greet. Recruitment is illegal, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.
“Did you know that Logan finished all the courses Bullitt County High had to offer in his junior year?” Mom pipes up.
“I did.” Coach Reynolds smiles while sipping his Coke. “I’ve also heard he has exceptional ACT and SAT scores. Had a talk with your guidance counselor. She told me about the summer institutes you’ve been asked to attend. If you play summer ball for us, I promise practices and games will never interfere with any of that.”