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The Magic Baseball
i
 stared at the glossy image. Six-year-old toothless me hold-ing Mom’s hand as white waves broke on the shore behind us. A strand of dark hair blew in Mom’s face, hiding what might have been a small smile.I turned as Mom appeared in the doorway. “Look at this. I was so little.” I held up the picture, smiling.When Mom’s eyes found the box I had opened, confusion swept across her face. “Where did you nd that? I thought we’d unpacked everything.”“It . . . was in here,” I said.She stepped into the spare room of our new apartment. We’d moved all over San Diego. From 4
th
 Street to 10
th
 Street
 
10
Tortilla Sun
and from Mulberry Road to Elm Road. The last place we lived was on Paradise Place. That had a nice ring to it. Now, we were living at 1423 M Street. “M” for
maybe
 this will nally be home. “I haven’t seen this in ages.” Her eyes danced as she traced her long ngers over the photo. “I think you had just lost that front tooth.” She chuckled at the memory.A soft breeze crawled in through the window, tickling my face. That’s when I caught sight of something else in the box. A baseball. I took the baseball from the box and rotated it in my hand. The words
because
 and
magic 
 were written across the front. “Whose is this?” Mom looked up and yanked the ball from my grasp. “Wait. I want to look at it. What do those words mean?” I said.“I . . . It’s nothing. Help me fold up this box.”“Is it Dad’s?” I asked barely above a whisper.Mom turned to me. “I said never mind, Izzy. It’s just an old nothing.” But I knew it wasn’t a nothing. Dad died before I was born and Mom never wanted to talk about him. But I imagined we were just the same. That he hated moving from

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