“Quit going easy on me,” I told Derrick.  “There is no way I am going to get better if you aren’t even trying to win.” 

I tried not to breathe too hard because if I did and if Derrick thought I was exhausted, I knew he would stop.  I knew he still thought of me as the helpless, sickly little sister who spent most of her childhood languishing in bed.  I know he started off resenting the time my parents spent with me even most of it was spent going from appointment to appointment. 

Somewhere along the way, Derrick had moved from resentful to overprotective.  My cancer had been in remission for eight years and I was optimistic it would not relapse.  I knew much of the overprotectiveness had to do with our parents divorce, but it was hard not to think of their divorce as my fault.  Too many doctor appointments and too many unpaid bills.  I knew much of his unhappiness was my fault and I was determined to not let him be miserable any longer. 

“I’m not going easy on you, you’re just getting better,” he said straightening up.  I heard his spine pop as he reached for the basketball. 

“You’re not even sweating.”  I shot the ball from the free throw line.  The swish of the net was the last thing I remembered until I woke up three days later.  But I wasn’t in a hospital.  Or with a doctor.  I wasn’t even in my house.   


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