By Steve Trout
Back in his room Billy looked at his baseball gear and put it in the closet.
Billy looked at Buddy, nodded his head, grabbed his baseball bag and headed to the backyard. He set up the net to practice throwing, then hitting. He also threw his ball against a brick wall to work on his fielding. He saw his mom looking out the window and giving him a thumbs up. He returned the thumbs up.
She came out onto the porch. “Billy,” she said, “you got a ‘B’ on your math test, you caught a big fish. You went out and practiced baseball. And you took out the garbage. Oh, and your room is clean.”
“Mom, you went in my room?”
“Yes, just to close the window because it was going to rain. Oh, and I took the old dirty baseball and threw it away.”
“What? Oh, no!” Just then he heard the garbage truck. Billy yelled out the window, “Hey, stop!” The garbage man didn’t hear Billy. Billy sprinted down to stairs to the curb and just as Buddy was about to be crushed, Billy pulled him out of the truck.
“Hey, kid! Are you crazy? You almost lost your arm for that old ball!” the man yelled.
“If you love something, it’s worth it,” Billy told him.
Then he said, “Mom, never ever touch Buddy again.”
“You even have a name for the ball?” she asked. “Is he like a friend?”
“Yes, I never told you about this, but I found Buddy in the woods when I was looking for my home run ball. He’s very special to me.”
He looked at Buddy, “I don’t know what I’d do if you got destroyed. You’re magic to me.”
“The real magic is in you.”
During recess at school the next day Billy sat on a swing and watched the other kids playing soccer. He thought of what Buddy would say: “Go play. Make some friends. Get into the action.” He jumped off the swing in mid-air and went over to where the others were playing soccer.
“Hey, Billy, we were hoping you would come over and join us,” one of the kids said.
“Really? I don’t know how to play soccer,” Billy replied.
“Heck, we just kick the ball and have some fun,” Sammy said.
Billy said to himself, “I thought they didn’t like me, but they do.”
“Come play tomorrow with us.” Liz smiled at him.
“Oh, my gosh, Liz just asked me to play with them tomorrow,” Billy thought.
Billy took Buddy out of his pocket and held him in his hand. “Things have really changed for me since I started listening to you. What if I didn’t save you from the garbage truck? How would I continue with all the great things I’m learning from you?”
“It’s inside of you. Our secret,” Buddy reminded him.
The next day Billy went to the sporting goods store to buy some new shoes for soccer. On the way out, he bought a plastic ball holder for Buddy. “Buddy, I’m going to live with all the great things you have taught me, and I believe that magic comes in many different ways.”
“Magic is everywhere if you look for it and believe in it,” Buddy said.
Once he was back at home in his room, Billy put Buddy in his new plastic case, gave him a smile and a kiss and promised to always have him in his life.
Just then, the doorbell rang. He heard his mom yell “You’re home!” Billy ran down the stairs and there was his dad. He jumped into his arms.