Sammy jumped off the swing just as Ellen and Barry came around the corner from the drive.
“I wanna talk with you!” Ellen said, her face contorted from anger.
“About what?” Sammy asked.
Ellen said nothing until she reached Sammy. There, leaning close and poking him with her finger, she said, “You messed everything up by deciding to go along with Grampa’s stupid idea he’s a girl—then convincing Uncle Arnold and Angela to go along, too! We were all happy before then! No fighting, no arguing! Now, we’re fighting each other and Mom is always crying, and we’ll never convince Grampa he’s sick and needs help!”
She paused and Sammy thought she was done, but she poked him again—it hurt.
“Last week, Grampa and Angela were mean and made Mom cry! She wants him to get better and you’re interferon with that!”
“Interfering,” Sammy corrected.
“Whatever! You are messing up helping Grampa get better! He might never get better—all because of you!”
And she emphasized each word of the last sentence with a poke.
“Stop touching me, Ellen,” Sammy said.
“Or else what?” Ellen asked. “You wanna hit me?”
“If I was bigger and older, I’d beat you up!” Barry yelled, stepping next to Ellen.
“I’m not going to waste my time dealing with bigots,” Sammy said.
“Grampa is sick!” Ellen screamed. “That’s fact—not opinion! Mom is a nurse! She works at a hospital! She should know what she’s talking about!”
“She should,” Sammy said, smiling.
His smile angered Ellen further and she punched his shoulder. “She does! You’re not even a teenager yet, but you think you know more than her?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Because, last year, I read what thousands of doctors and psychologists said about transgender—scientists! They say it isn’t a mental illness! Aunt Jennifer is a nurse—a great one—but it doesn’t make her more an expert than them!”