Gavin and his buddies build a fort in the vacant lot across the street. Their campfire gets away from them nearly burning down the woods and injuring his friend. Gavin is left with the regret of losing his father’s trust. Can he ever get it back?
Gavin thrashed back and forth on his bed. Suddenly he cried out as a stabbing pain left him breathless.
Mom burst into his room and turned on the light. “What is wrong, Gavin?” She stood staring down on his contorted face. He was grasping his leg and still unable to speak.
“It hurts! It hurts!” he finally said between clenched teeth.
“What hurts, son?” she asked anxiously.
Pulling back the covers, Mom saw Gavin’s tight grip around his upper thigh. When the pain finally subsided, she examined his leg.
“I can’t see anything, Gavin,” she shook her head. “Did you pull a muscle climbing trees or playing football?” she asked.
“Maybe, but I don’t remember hurting or straining it,” Gavin winced.
Finally after rubbing soothing ointment on his leg and trying to make him comfortable, she turned off the light. He listened to her slippers scuff across the kitchen linoleum on her way back to her bedroom. Gavin turned over in the darkness and drifted back to sleep.
The next morning was Sabbath. Gavin slipped into a seat in the Junior division of Sabbath School as the leader was talking. He hoped no one noticed him. Tricia and Kelly were whispering in front of him. Suddenly he wished he’d looked in the mirror once more. His hand went up to his head to smooth the unruly blond waves. He could only imagine just which way they’d decided to stick out today!
“OK,” the leader, Mrs. Peterson, was finishing her explanation. “We’ll have the girls and guys be on separate teams for the Bible quiz.”
Jason turned to Scott and rubbed his hands together. “This ought to be a cinch,” he grinned.
“The first question is, ‘How many sons did Jacob have?’ Girls?” Mrs. Peterson paused.
Kaitlyn shot up a hand. “Twelve.” The girls cheered as Mrs. Peterson nodded and put up a point.
“Great!” Mrs. Peterson chose another card. “Boys, this one is yours. ‘What city was Saul traveling to when Jesus spoke to him?’” Mrs. Peterson looked around the room. The boys were murmuring to one another. Gavin was on the edge of his seat. He motioned trying to get Scott’s attention, but he didn’t see Gavin. A hand went up from the group of guys.
“Darin?” Mrs. Peterson asked.
“Jericho,” he said confidently.
Mrs. Peterson slowly shook her head, “Nooooooo.” She looked around and
spotted Sasha’s hand raised. She pointed to her.
“Wasn’t it Damascus?” Sasha asked.
“You got it!” Mrs. Peterson smiled. Darin slapped his forehead. The boys groaned.
I knew that, thought Gavin as he slid back into his seat. He might as well just look
on. The guys were not going to ask for his help. He slumped in his chair and folded his arms across his chest.
All the other kids in Sabbath School went to the church school. They knew each other. Gavin’s dad didn’t see why Gavin needed to go to the church school. He’d gone to public school all his life. Gavin brushed away the disappointment. He was just glad that Dad had finally decided to join Mom in coming to the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sabbath. As the exciting stories of the Bible were related, he longed to know more. Gavin’s thoughts were interrupted as Sabbath School came to an end. The kids were laughing and talking together in little groups. Gavin stood slowly and started to walk to the door.
“Hey, are you coming over tonight?” Jason’s voice rose above the others. He had a pool, and Gavin loved to swim! With excitement mounting, he turned, but then noticed that Jason was talking with three guys and several of the girls. The kids drew closer to him as they excitedly made plans for a pool party.
Gavin slowly turned to leave. He might as well be invisible. As he went down the hall to meet his parents in church, he wondered if any of them even knew his name. After church, he spent the afternoon reading.
That night shortly after he’d gone to sleep, Gavin woke up again in a nightmare of pain. This time Dad rushed into his room, and went through the same questions Mom had asked him the night before. Mom stood behind Dad twisting the belt of her robe anxiously.
“Shouldn’t we just take him in to the doctor?” Mom suggested.
“He runs and plays all day,” Dad objected. “What could be wrong with him now in the middle of the night?” he sounded exasperated.
Gavin could see how it didn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense to him either. But
the stabbing pain that awakened him these last few nights wasn’t imaginary.
“Exactly where does it hurt?” Dad asked.
Gavin rubbed his hip. “Somewhere in there. Deep in there.” After more
examination, Mom brought a heating pad and arranged it on his hip.
“Hope that helps, son,” she covered him again.
Night after night of this hip pain returned. Mom would rub Ben-Gay
where it hurt, ice it, and massage it, but nothing brought relief. Finally, after everyone’s nerves were frazzled, Dad agreed to have a doctor examine it once and for all.
At the office the next day, the doctor had a series of x-rays taken. Then with Gavin perched on the examining table, the doctor asked him a list of questions.
“Before you get dressed, I want you to walk over to that machine and then back toward me again,” the doctor said.
Gavin jumped down from the examining table and walked across the cool tiled floor and back again.
The doctor was rubbing his chin with his hand as he watched. Mom looked
anxiously at him.