The day after the national competition the weather is awful, rainy and windy, but Melody insists on going to school anyway. Her dad tells her that her team got ninth place, and lost in a late round. Melody tries not to care, and not to think of them as her team anymore. Although she’s been excused from school for the day, and her mother suggests she stay home, Melody feels that skipping school would be like giving up. As she gets ready for school everything seems to be going wrong, and her mother gets more and more frustrated. As the morning progresses Melody’s mom begs her to stay at home, but Melody refuses. She wants to see Catherine and thinks that maybe she’ll help make Melody feel better.
Melody tries to mentally distance herself from her team. She hopes that if she refuses to accept them as her teammates anymore (just like they didn’t accept her), the pain of their rejection will hurt less. She insists on going to school because Catherine, like Mrs. V, is one of the few people who can cheer her up and make her feel better about herself and her situation.
Because of the rain, Melody uses her manual wheelchair and leaves her Medi-Talker at home. Because Melody’s dad hurt his arm, her mom has to load everything into the family car by herself in the rain, and she gets more and more frustrated. When Melody points out that she forgot Catherine’s thank you card, and her mom angrily goes back to the house to get Melody’s book bag. When Melody’s mom has gotten back in the car, Melody sees Penny run out of the house with her mom’s umbrella, which she’s also forgotten. Melody tries to signal to her mom that Penny has run outside of the house. She screams and scratches at her mom’s hand, but her mom doesn’t understand. In fact, her mom gets so fed up she hits Melody on the leg, something she’s never done before. Even though she’s shocked and upset, Melody keeps yelling as her mom reverses the car, and hits Penny.
This is a moment in Melody’s life where she desperately wants to communicate but cannot. Just like when Ollie, her goldfish died, or when she was in the toy store and tried to alert her mother to toys she knew were dangerous, Melody is unable to say what she wants and needs to say. This is always frustrating for her, but in a few instances in the book, including this one, it becomes literally a case of life or death.