Why You Shouldn't Laugh at Someone Who Stutters

April 8, 2015 11:00 PM

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The bar is packed, and I have to lean across the table to introduce myself. "Hi I'm..." The usual mouth-gapping, eye-opening silence. Followed by the repeated putter of "Ka" "Ka" "Ka." She stares for a second, maybe two. And then she laughs. She looks around the table, reaching out for someone to join her private joke. Met with blank faces from my friends and half-smiles from strangers, she turns back to me, still braying. My mouth is not ready to smile. Even if I wanted to, I'm not able to save her. I'm mid stutter, still reaching deep inside of myself, clawing down into my lungs and my throat, to drag my name out of my mouth and into the open. I greedily inhale a fistful of air and try again, "Hi, I'm K K K."

Improbably, her laughter continues. I watch as one of my friends, the one who knows her, leans over and whispers something. The distraction loosens something in me and finally I spit out "Katherine." My friend pulls away from her ear. The girl looks confused. I hope that my friend has told her to st...

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