Carter pulled the curtain closed. It had been a very satisfying lecture. Carter mused as he worked. Professor Lyle had made his point about how your body could speak volumes to trained speakers. You didn't need to speak a word. The Professor could tell whether you were listening, had an open mind, were having a good time … and other things … things Carter didn't understand.
Carter knew he didn't understand a lot of things that the college students did. He knew he was 'different'. His Mom and Dad had explained his 'difference' to him many times and were adamant that he stayed positive and worked hard to be 'all that he could be' despite Down's Syndrome. So far, He had made it to the eleventh grade. He had worked at the college for five months, opening and closing curtains, moving stage props and listening to very interesting lectures and seeing plays.
I am going to watch the audience during the next lecture. Carter decided. Maybe I can understand a little better some of the things Professor Lyle taught in his lecture.
As the lecture started, Carter sat where he could see about half the audience, without them seeing him. As he scanned the people, he tried hard to remember all Professor Lyle had said. There, the black shirt. He has his arms and his legs crossed. He's not open to listening at all. The woman in red, she's relaxed, hands in lap. She's open to new ideas. The green … her arms are crossed but her legs aren't and she has a smile on her face, not talking. He continued to scan further back in the audience, taking notes. The Speaker had been talking for about ten minutes when his eyes returned to the first row.
Wow, Black Shirt is now leaning forward, arms and legs uncrossed! He's very attentive now. Red has crossed her legs and is drumming her fingers on the chair arm. That means lost interest. Green is furiously taking notes, but her eyes are not leaving the Speaker's face. Very interesting..
“Carter?” Professor Lyle whispered from behind him.
“Y-y-yes!” Carter jumped up, startled.
“May I have a few minutes of your time?” Asked Professor Lyle.
Carter looked at his watch. “I have T-t-twenty m-m-minutes before I c-c-close the c-c-curtain.” He whispered.
“Let's go to the prop room.” Professor Lyle said.
Carter mused his way to the prop room. I'm scared. I hope he is not angry with me. I must have done something he didn't like. I wonder what it was.
“Carter,” Professor Lyle began as he closed the prop room door. “ I am convinced you understood most of what I said today. When I found you putting into practice what I taught, my heart leaped for joy. I believe that you understand a lot more than you credit yourself for.”
“I-I-I can understand what is read to me b-b-better than what I have to r-r-read.” Carter knew he was stammering, but someone understood. “I-I-I hear g-g-good and write g-g-g-good.”
“Relax, Carter.” Professor Lyle put his arm around Carter. “ Relax and listen, I have a plan that will improve your chances to learn. You don't have to be nervous around me.. We will talk about it, then we'll talk to your Mom and Dad. What are you most interested in doing with your life?”
“I want to be a S-s-stage Manager and a Vet's Assistant.”
Professor Lyle was impressed. “Well, that's a big expectation. I can see you love theater. Do you also love working with animals?”
“Yes, I can't stand to see an animal hurting. You know, the only way you know an animal is hurting is by it's ... body language! Animals have body language just like humans! Wow!” Carter was dancing around the room as he spoke. “Professor Lyle, Do you actually think I can learn enough to be a Vet's Assistant?”
Professor Lyle caught Carter's hands, dancing with him. “Yes, I do. You relaxed. You spoke without stammering. You can do it. Let's go talk to your folks about my plan as soon as you close the curtain.”
Carter ran to do his job, more excited than he had been since he graduated 8th grade. I can learn better! Thank You, God. Please help Mom and Dad be in favor of this plan.
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