Dating someone with a stutter
After class, she asked whether she could run a feature on me in their next issue.
When the article was published, the host of a popular stuttering podcast reached out and asked whether I would be a guest on her show.
While I spoke, he waited and listened, and I felt a surge of gratitude, as if I had found the one man sensitive enough to attempt to understand my speech disability.
I was in my college boyfriend’s dorm room the first time I spoke openly about my stutter.
Though I had stuttered since learning to speak — my deficiencies with spoken language were so evident, my mother rushed me to the pediatrician before preschool even began — I was never comfortable confronting what everyone else could hear: the repetitions, the prolongations, the blocks that lasted so long it felt as though I was falling.
Did the guy at the library give a look of panicked discomfort after I openly stuttered?
Did the man at the party ask for my name, only to mockingly joke, “W-w-w-w-what, did you forget it or something? Those who do make the cut aren’t obvious saints — they’re mostly just patient, perceptive and curious. They maintain eye contact even when I’m taking time to get the words out and my eyes unintentionally seek the ceiling or the floor, searching for a way around a word.