“The Castle Cure,” Friend, Nov. 2002, 30–31
Tim’s foot hurt. His cast felt hot and itchy, and he was tired of just lying on the couch.
“Mom,” Tim called and waited.
“Mom,” he called again, a little louder. She must be upstairs with the baby, he decided. He looked over the stack of movies she had borrowed from the library. He’d already watched them all—twice. He looked out the window. In the backyard, little Heidi climbed up on her plastic slide while David slid down. Sun lit their hair, and he could hear them laughing. “It’s not fair,” Tim grumbled to no one in particular. He wished his foot wouldn’t ache anymore.
He heard a rumble approaching the house, followed by a loud squeal. The school bus. Soon the front door creaked open, and he heard the thud of backpacks and instrument cases hitting the floor. Brian and Eric are home, he told himself. He listened to their footsteps heading toward the kitchen.
“Hey, Tim,” Brian’s voice said.
Tim couldn’t see him over the back of the couch. “Hi,” he answered quietly.
“Feeling any better?” Brian’s head popped into view.
Tim frowned up at him. “No. And I’m bored.”
“Do you want a snack?” Eric called from the kitchen. “There are lots of frozen treats in here.”
“I’ll have a grape one,” Brian said.
Tim heard a box snap open and wrappers crunch as Eric fished one out.
Tim flinched when the frozen treat hurtled over the couch and bashed against his cast. “Ouch!” he yelled.
Brian grabbed the treat.
“Oops, sorry,” Eric called, taking his treat outside.
“So, have you worked on your castle yet?” Brian asked.
Tim shook his head.
“It’s downstairs.” Tim had crutches, but he wasn’t supposed to use them yet. His bedroom—and everything else downstairs—had been pretty much off-limits since his foot surgery last week.
“Do you want me to get the stuff for you?”
Tim shrugged. The castle was to be made out of tiny plastic blocks of many shapes and colors. Even though the set was brand-new, it would take him hours to find all the pieces he’d need—especially because he wasn’t supposed to even sit up for very long.
“I can help you put it together,” Brian offered. “I don’t have that much homework to do.”
Tim smiled. “Really?”
“Sure. We can build it on this table right by the couch. I’ll hand you the pieces, and you figure out how they fit.”
Brian threw his empty stick into the trash and tromped down the stairs. Tim listened to hear his steps coming back up.
“Here it is.” Brian handed the box to Tim.
“Thanks.” Tim slid his finger between layers of cardboard and opened the box. Inside, the pieces glittered in plastic bags. He handed Brian some colorful pages with pictures and directions.
“Awesome,” Brian said. He moved the box to the table and began sorting blocks. “Here’s one you’ll need for the foundation,” he said, holding it out for Tim.
By the time Dad got home, the castle was almost finished.
“Tim, this looks great!” Dad exclaimed.
“Brian helped a lot,” Tim said.
“Wow, Brian, that was nice of you!” Dad looked at Tim again. “And how’s your foot?”
“Lots better,” Tim said. “I even forgot it hurt.”
Dad patted Brian on the back. “You should be a doctor, Son.”
Brian grinned down at the last few blocks. “We’ll call it the castle cure,” he said.