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skin matches.
Today was my last trip to the surgeon's office who's been workin' on my ring. I call the scar on my chest a ring now, 'cause that's what it looks like. Alex showed me a picture of an atoll that looks like someone took that picture and tattooed it on my chest in pink blobs. I don't like atoll as much as I do ring.

The doc checked me out, touching his skin matches against one bad spot--the spot I tore open trying to play ball with Dad. I won't miss those matches. They're brown and tan and when they touch skin they burn it blackish brownish nastyish. The doc says it keeps the new cell growth in check, otherwise I might just grow out of my skin. Momma says doc takes too much of his own medicine and now I think I believe her. Grow out of my own skin...he's nuts.

My sling is gone as of next Monday. I secretly take it off when no one else is around and I roll my shoulder and turn my wrist and straighten out my elbow as far as it will go. It's turning out okay so far, but I still have this big knot on my forearm and my elbow won't go all the way straight and my shoulder rolls back further now than it ever did and that's cool 'cause I think it might help me throw harder and faster next season. Dad thinks so, too.

At the doctor's, Momma spent an awful lot of time talking to him and his nurse about my skin in words I didn't quite get. They talked about more surgeries and about grafts and skin tabs and chemical peels and acid cutting and even lasers. None of it sounds good to me.

"No, I think this is his last visit for sure." Doc's nurse said the sweetest words I could hear. She smiled at me when she said it and squeezed my cheek and if I had my sling off I woulda' smacked her for it. I hate that.

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