I didn’t speak for a long time. It was whispers when I did. People made me feel like I should be seen and not heard. My parents. My sister. Family. School. So I was seen and not heard, but I tried to not been seen either. I didn’t want people to notice me. I wanted to do what I had to do, what I was expected to do, and just get by in life. I had teachers embarrass me. Saying about how I was so good and the rest of the class should be like me. I wanted to be like the rest of the class. I wanted to talk and laugh and joke with those around me, but I didn’t know how and I didn’t know how to tell anyone either. I was to be seen and not heard. I was never like my classmates. I was never normal. I didn’t know how to be. I didn’t go place or do things. I listened to music and rocked on a chair. I imagined things and places that brought comfort to my soul. I imagined leprechauns in the bird cage. I thought about the things I loved. The animals especially. They brought me joy. I liked when a few people talked to me at school and made me feel like I wasn’t so different after all. I had some teachers who were kind and encouraged me. I tried my hardest to do my best. I tried to not cry when I would fail. As life went on, I learned I didn’t want to be silent. I wanted to be silly. I wanted to make people smile. I wanted so much for others to have what I was lacking and I wanted to be the one who gave them it all. I’ll never be able to be what everyone needs. But if I can be something just one person needs, then that’s everything I ever wanted. My wife. I’m what she needs and she’s what I need.