Tommy the ‘Beanpole’ recovered from his injuries. During his physical therapy he seriously thought about where his life was taking him. He had been offered a tuition-free scholarship to continue his hoops career at the nearby J.C. He learned that his friend Mick would be going to the State University. Graduation was only a few weeks away and Beanpole has slipped into an isolated melancholy. Mick considered his friend”s withdrawal and apparent apathy as wounded pride and chose not to make any more efforts to penetrate the walls Tommy had built.
Even Sally Ann failed to understand her boyfriend’s subdued behavior was something much deeper than shame. A few days before graduation, Sally.simply told him that their relationship just wouldn’t work any more. He took it without apparent pain or regret.
“Tommy,” Mich hailed after graduation ceremonies. “Good luck at J.C. next fall.” He didn’t want to hurt Tom’s feelings any more than they had been already so he didn’t mention his academic scholarship and plans to start his fall semester in a pre-law curriculum. “How about you Tommy. We haven’t talked in quite some time . . . you taking the road to the NBA?”
They both laughed. “Say, someone told me that you had a change of mind. Word is that you’re going into the service. Is there any truth in those rumors?” Beanpole nodded, “I’ve signed up with the Marine Corps recruiter a few days ago. So I’ll be off to basics in two weeks to San Diego. I guess we won’t be seeing much of each other for a while. My folks are moving too. Dad’s been offered a promotion to a new job.” Tom showed a brief sniffle of emotion as he gave his friend a warm goodbye hug.
“Don’t say ‘goodbye, Beanpole. When you get a leave, catch a bus back to Valley View. I’ll be here every summer for a few years as I’ll be working at the Branton Law firm.”
Tommy’s expression turned dark, Yes, just between us, I’ll be back one more time. Some business needs to be finished.