MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) - Alexis Taylor saw something in Marty Ary that the surgeons missed 13 years ago when he was severely handicapped after nearly drowning in an above ground swimming pool.
Marty’s parents, Martin and Krissy Ary, were told their son’s medical condition never would improve, he’d never show any signs of life.
The numbing message: “What you see today is what you’ll get.”
Those doctors should have been sitting in the Ary house recently when Alexis, a sophomore at Middletown High School, walked in, stood in front of Marty’s wheelchair and held a handmade sign that read: “Marty Will You Roll To Homecoming With Me?”
Marty hasn’t spoken since the accident, but that didn’t stop him from giving Alexis an answer. No incident could steal the twinkle in his eyes.
Ever since Alexis and Marty were third-graders at Creekview Elementary School, she has “made all over Marty,” his mother said. Alexis, a junior varsity cheerleader at MHS and accomplished gymnast, visits Marty every day in his classroom, sometimes during her lunch period.
“He’s my best friend,” she said. “Sometimes we just hold hands.”
His mother added: “She keeps a good eye on him. She is so special to all of us. She has a piece of my heart.”
These two were born one day apart. They have been even closer every day since. Marty was invited to Alexis’ Sweet 16 birthday party, and he returned the favor the next day. The near drowning stole so much from Marty and his family. But it brought a friend into his life.
So as this year’s Middletown High School Homecoming Dance, set for Saturday night, neared, there was no doubt Alexis was going to ask Marty.
“Everybody deserves to go to Homecoming,” she said. “He makes me feel special. He knows I’m here.”
She, of course, has heard the whispers in the hall. Some of her classmates think she’s only going to Homecoming with Marty because of his disability.
Those people are wrong.
“I see Marty for what he is, a friend,” she said.
She reached over and stroked Marty’s fingers as he struggled to keep his eyes open.
“It’s time for his nap,” his mother said.
As they talked, tears streamed down the face of the girl and the mother. The more they wiped away the tears, the more they filled their eyes.
“He brings so much love and joy to my life,” Alexis said.
Krissy Ary has tried to make Saturday night memorable for Marty and his date. She tried to rent a horse and carriage, but the cost was too much. She wants Marty and Alexis to go to the dance together, instead of meeting there. She also sent money to the school so Marty could buy the two tickets. And she wants Marty’s shirt to match Alexis’ dress.
She knows this may be Marty’s first - and last - Homecoming dance.
“It’s all about Marty,” his mother said. “She has made it all about him.”
They will eat dinner together at the Ary home, then drive together in his father’s car. Then they will arrive at the high school. Alexis is looking forward to seeing how Marty reacts to the lights and music.
“I wouldn’t go with anybody else,” she said.
His mother added: “She is not embarrassed to be with Marty.”
Then the conversation returned to the day of the near drowning.
“Five-29-02,” Krissy Ary said without hesitating. “The day I’ll never forget.”
Marty spent 71 days in the hospital and had a tracheotomy for two years. His physical condition hasn’t improved much in the last 10 years. His family has come to grips that Marty his limitations and restrictions, thus they have limitations and restrictions. They can’t pick up and go like most of us. Marty is at the top of every decision.
“We have accepted who he is,” his mother said. “Not what he could have been.”
But doesn’t she ever ask why? What parent wouldn’t?
“I have stopped asking why,” she said. “I don’t feel sorry for myself. I say, ‘Look at what he goes through.’ “
She looked over at Marty, and despite all the commotion in the room, nap time was winning.
“I just want what’s best for him,” she said.
And at that moment, what was best for him was holding his hand.
Information from: The JournalNews of Hamilton, https://www.journal-news.com/cgi-bin/liveique.acgi$sch=jnfront?jnfront
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