When the baby was born, it cried in fits and starts like a car engine sputtering to life on a cold, winter morning, stalling several times before it bellowed its frustration. Being the first child of an inexperienced mother, the boy’s peculiarity was mistaken as a newborn characteristic.
But when the baby’s cries didn’t improve and he gradually grew into a speaking toddler, his speech reflected the same gaps and unexpected pauses. When the boy wanted a hug, he’d throw open his arms and say – Mama, give me ____. Or when he was hungry, he’d point at the refrigerator and crow – Mama, Mama, I ____ some ____.
At first, the mother thought her son’s gestures and words were adorable, an innocent attempt at making conversation. But with the passing years as the boy’s limbs grew, his speaking skills saw no improvement.
The woman no longer considered a five-year-old boy who ate up half his words a delightful sight and she reprimanded him with stiff words and grim facial expressions. The confused boy couldn’t understand the swing in his mother’s behavior, so he placed his hands on his hips and hollered at the top of his voice – Mama! What’s ____ you?! I don’t ____!
Then came the tears and the trembling lip and the mother’s sternness simply melted away. The woman immediately made an appointment with the town’s only speech therapist. Twenty years of experience would have to mean something.
The man was tall with a pleasant face and his words were clearer than a crisp summer’s day. He sat down with the boy and looked him straight in the eye.
‘Your mother tells me you speak in half-sentences. Where are the other halves hiding?’
Neither blinked an eye nor took an extra breath. The boy leaned in with the fiercest scowl on his face – You’re ____ man. I ____ you. The other halves ____ your ____.
The therapist shook his head and looked at the boy’s mother.
‘What did he just say?’
A nervous laugh couldn’t replace the woman’s shame as she filled in the blanks.
‘You’re a mean man. I hate you. The other halves are in your pants.’
The man sat more stunned than offended. He looked at mother and child and then at the ceiling.
‘There’s no doubt I can help this boy. But not even God can help this interpreter.’