Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Boys

Once upon a time, there lived two boys. The boys were not like other boys. While other boys went to school every day, the two boys each stayed home. While other boys spent time with kids their own ages, the two boys spent time only with adults and siblings. While other boys would play or just hang out together, neither boy had ever experienced playing with a friend or just hanging out. In fact, neither boy talked at all.

Along came a woman who was not like other women. Even though she was small, whenever she spoke, she seemed enormous. Every part of her body would get involved in the simple task of speaking.  She had a funny way of saying things and often mixed up words from different languages like english and dutch. Even though she was a fully grown-up adult, she loved to play games and she had an almost magical ability to make a game of anything, even eating spinach or pooping on the potty.

The woman decided that she'd like to become a friend of each of the boys. Each and every day she'd visit their homes to play. At first, neither boy knew what to do with the strange little woman who talked funny and liked to play games. When she walked into their playrooms, they'd pretend that she wasn't there.

Although some friends might get upset if their playmates pretended that they didn't even exist, the woman was never bothered by it. She'd just sit on the floor and wait.

Sometimes the woman would join the boys in whatever activities they were doing. Sometimes she'd just sit and watch. Every once in a while, a boy would seem to notice she was there. He might mumble something or hand her a block or a crayon. Whenever this happened, you'd have thought the boy had given her a diamond or emerald. She'd thank the boy in her big, animated way.

One day when one of the boys mumbled something, the woman thought for sure that he'd actually said some words. She told this to other people who knew the boy, but they let her know that the boy didn't say words.  Because she spoke in a funny way, the woman was used to people not understanding her or thinking that she didn't use words. So she decided that the boy did say words; the problem was that she needed to do a better job of listening.

A couple of weeks passed as the woman learned to be a better listener. One morning as the boy played with his toy truck, he mumbled something, and the woman, who had become a very good listener said, "Did you say 'baseball'?"

The boy looked up from his truck, looked the woman in the eyes and stared at her. This was kind of special since the boy never looked anyone in the eyes.

The woman responded, "You did say 'baseball', didn't you?"

The boy got up from his truck, walked over to where the woman sat on the floor and hugged her.

As the weeks passed, the woman became an even better listener and boy became an even better talker.

A couple of years passed as the woman continued her daily visits with the boys. One day she decided that it might be a good time for the boys to meet each other. At first she thought that one boy might visit the other in his playroom, but she quickly realized that doing so might not work out that well. Each boy's playroom was his own special place. He could decide whether or not someone could visit him there. The woman didn't want to force a boy to accept a visitor whom he didn't want, but she also didn't want a visiting boy to be kicked out of the other's playroom.

What could she do? How could she get the boys together?

The woman decided to arrange a play date in the park near the boys' houses. It was a surprise play date since neither boy knew that he'd be meeting the other one. The woman would bring one boy to the park and her friend would bring the other boy to the park. Since the boys both liked to swing, the woman and her friend would take each boy to the swingset and help them aboard adjacent swings.

The woman and her friend started pushing the boys on their swings. Her friend pushed from the back; the woman pushed from the front touching the tips of the boys' shoes as their swings reached the top of their forward arcs.

Since the boys both knew the woman, each assumed that she was there for him. However, each one noticed that the woman was not only pushing his feet, but she was also pushing the feet of the boy next to him. The boys began to notice each other.

One boy started talking to the woman about the boy next to him. The woman told the boy the name of other boy. Then she told the other boy, the name of the first. Whenever the first boy would use the other boy's name, the other boy would smile.

After going to the park, the woman decided that maybe it would be OK to stop at the house of one of the boys and spend some time together on the porch. Sitting next to one another on the porch swing, the boys shared a banana. Afterwards, the boys sprawled out on the porch's stone floor, drawing letters and pictures with colored chalk.

The first boy wrote the name of the other boy and then said it aloud. This caused the other boy to smile. The second boy then wrote a word and said it. The word was 'Internet'. The first boy laughed.

Driving home, the boy who'd written the word 'Internet' sat quietly looking out the window. The woman pulled up in front of the boy's house and walked around the car to unstrap the seat harness and help him out. As she did this, the boy looked up at her and said, "I visited my friend today."

Once upon a time there lived to boys who were not like other boys, but who weren't all that different either.

Happy Saturday,

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