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Learning to Fall: only a test.
New glasses and a pink, skinny arm, a red ring of scars on my chest and a glove--that's all I needed for a good day. My cast came off--the latest cast, the one Terry gave when he re-broke my arm and stole my dog--and Dad said it was time to do some rehabilitatin'. He took me out to the ball field after a game, a game I should've been playin' in had I not fallen down in school in the first place and broke it and then listened at all to Terry ever.

Me and Dad started out by stretchin' out in the dugout, my dugout, up against the benches and the rails covered in tobacco. Neither of us noticed, or we pretended not to notice, the scummy brown sauce shiny in places, sticky in others.

It's the most important thing, you know, stretchin'. I started at my heels, stretchin' my achilles and then hamstrings, and then groin and hips. My legs felt like lead had been snuck into my veins instead of blood and like I had a rubber band about to snap at the backs of my knees if I tried to get even close to touching my toes.

"Go slow, boy." Dad stretched with me, and even though he's like a hundred years older than me, he can still put his hands flat on the ground standin' straight up. Man, I wish I could do that.

When it came time to stretch my arms and shoulders I had to stop. The circle of pink criss-crossing my ribs where I was burned pulled and burned like it wasn't healed. Dad heard me whimper and when he came quickly over to me, all serious faced with his big black brow knitted like a sock into his forehead, it looked like maybe he was gonna' scold me for goin' too fast, not mindin' him.

Instead he took my shirt off and shook his head, pattin' me on the shoulder. I was bleedin'.

"Slower than that, son."

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