“Mom!” he shouted from the doorway.
“Mom!” he shouted as he ran down the hall.
“Mo-om!” he shouted as he went into the bathroom.
“Mom, is it time to go the library?” he yelled over the sound of the water as he washed his hands.
Mom, who had just entered the bathroom, covered her ears and sighed. “Ben, I wish you would learn to whisper.” She looked at Ben’s dirty clothes. “Well, you can’t go dressed like that. Finish washing your hands, change your clothes, and then we will go.”
Ben wiped his hands on a towel and scowled at his reflection in the mirror. He wished he could learn how to whisper, too. He knew what it sounded like, but he did not know how to make his mouth do it.
“How do you whisper?”
“Well, feel your throat and say the word whisper. Do you feel your throat moving?”
Ben nodded. “It kind of shakes.”
“Now feel my throat.”
Ben placed his hand on Mom’s throat as she whispered the word whisper.
“Do you feel the difference?”
Again, Ben nodded. “It doesn’t shake.”
“Now, you practise on the way to the library,” said Mom.
Ben put his hand on his throat and began to practise. But, even though he tried and tried, his throat moved every time he spoke.
At the library, Ben searched for books about cars.
“Sh-h-h!” said the librarian, frowning at him.
“You have to whisper in the library, Ben,” Mom whispered in his ear, pointing to the car books.
Again, Ben wished he could whisper, but he couldn’t. So, he quickly grabbed some car books and placed them on the check out desk.
“Did you find all the books you wanted?” The librarian spoke softly.
Ben nodded. He did not want to say anything. He did not want the librarian to look over her glasses at him again. That always made his tummy feel funny.
Scanning the last of the books and handing his library card back to Ben, the librarian smiled and said, “I hope you enjoy your books.”
Ben waved, hurried out of the library and sighed in relief.
“Mom, is there anything else you need to do to whisper?” asked Ben.
“Well, you need to breathe slowly. Like this.” She made a circle with her lips and blew softly on his hand.
Ben blew softly on his hand all the way home from the library and all the way to church the next day.
He sat quietly and coloured for a long time. Then, it happened. He dropped his yellow crayon–his favourite colour, the one he needed for the sun. It rolled across the floor and stopped next to Mom’s foot.
“Mom,” Ben blurted out.
Several people turned to look at him. The pastor paused for a moment in the middle of his sermon, and the lady with the grey hair that always brought him candies leaned forward from her seat and said softly, “Ben, please whisper.”
Ben’s mouth dropped open, and he drew in a great breath. He nodded, almost too afraid to move and slowly breathed as he whispered, “Okay.”
His eyes opened wide, a smile spread across his face, and he tugged at his mom’s sleeve. Very softly he whispered, “Did you hear that, Mom? I whispered.”
Mom nodded and handed him his crayon.
Now, Mom never sighs and wished that Ben could whisper; the librarian only peers over her glasses at him when he drops his books; and the pastor has never had to pause during his sermons, at least not because Ben couldn’t whisper.