I'm eight years old, playing at a party when a woman walks in, her children hiding behind her legs. I know what she's going to ask.
"Hey, what's your name?"
I look up at her, and everything is still, the facade intact. Then I begin. The room was quiet, but now it's echoing with the letter "K" as I push at my name, only the first letter coming out. In place of more letters come convulsions, my lips shaking, my face red and shuddering from side to side, almost as if I'm choking.
"Why won't you tell me your name?" She thinks I am emphatically shaking my head at her. So I run upstairs.
I'm 12 years old, sitting in the office of my speech therapist. "You're pushing again," she says, my ears hearing her but not listening, my eyes roaming the room. "Ease into your words...you know you stutter even more when you try and push through them."