Burnt Lip

Mark Cato via Creative Commons

Lovey, age 3: His parents still think the name is adorable, have no regrets, and tell neighbors if it doesn’t work out, they’ll switch to his middle name, Leroy.

Lovey, age 5: The speech impediment lingers, Ls and Rs becoming Ws, cursing both “Wuvey” and “Wewoy.” He is oblivious, but his parents fret.

Lovey, age 7: Speech therapy has corrected most of the problem, but he comes home in tears from the teasing.

Leroy, age 10: Teachers report he is reluctant to speak in class; his grades begin a slow decline.

Leroy, age 13: The speech impediment returns, and he requests private tutoring.

Leroy, age 14: His parents tighten their belts and enroll him in private school.

Leroy, age 16: In spite of tutors, he is not able to meet the minimum academic requirements for his school.

Leroy, age 19: He earns his GED online. He hasn’t spoken in eighteen months. His parents blame each other.

Leroy, age 19.7: His first words in over two years are, “Call me Wuvey.”

Lovey, age 21: His girlfriend’s name is Lacey. He pronounces it, “Wacey.”

Lovey, age 24: Six weeks after his parents separate, Wuvey and Wacey marry in a simple ceremony.