“Happy birthday dear Kevin. Happy birthday to you!” the crowd sang. The Gaydos men were there as well as the nurse and Kevin’s foster parents. Kids from his neighborhood had been invited and the foster parents family members. Many of the people Kevin had never met before.
Kevin sat on Scott’s lap at a table with a big cake with a burning candle in the shape of a number one pressed into the middle of it. Kevin recognized the number.
“Blow out the candle Kevin,” cheered Scott. To everyone’s surprise, Kevin leaned forward and tried to blow out the candle. Scott leaned forward and helped him blow it out. Everyone clapped. Kevin put his chubby hands together and clapped with them. He then reached for the cake.
“Oh no, big guy. Presents first,” Scott laughed as he pushed the cake away from Kevin’s little hands. Tina brought the first present over and put it on the table.
“This is from Trent Gaydos.” She sang. It was a big package wrapped in pretty red paper with polka dot ribbon.
“Let’s see what you got little man.” He reached around Kevin’s head and started unwrapping the package. Kevin grabbed the paper as Scott ripped it off. “Look Kevin. Alphabet blocks.”
Kevin’s eyes lit up. He reached for the blocks but Kevin sat them on the floor. He continued looking at the blocks.
“This is from Nurse Jane,” said Tina in a sing-songy voice as she placed a package where the previous one had been.
“A toy piano!” Scott hit a few notes. “See Kevin.” He took Kevin’s hand and pressed it down on the toy. Kevin jerked his eyes away from the blocks and looked at the piano. He started hitting it with his hand. “Another Chopin in the making.” Scott put it on the floor beside the blocks.
Gift after gift was opened on the table and placed on the floor. Soon there was a large pile.
“There’s one more gift but I can’t put it on the table,” Tina yelled as she dragged the gift through the opening the guest made for her. “This is from Mr. Gaydos.” She stopped in front of the mountain of toys.
Scott lifted Kevin in his arms and knelt before a huge package.
“I think we’ll need all the kids to help us unwrap this one.” All the children began ripping the beautiful paper off. Under the paper was the largest playhouse Scott had ever seen. It was big enough for an adult to enter the three rooms. Each room was special. The kitchen had a play stove, sink, and shelves. There were play pot and pans, play food and play dishes and utensils. The living room had little chairs and a little couch. There was a chalkboard with different colored chalk. There was a bookshelf with lots of books. The music room had toy instruments.
The kids and adults had fun putting the playhouse up in the basement. In less than an hour, the house was set up and everything was set in place. They all watched as Kevin crawled into the living room. He pulled himself up to the chalkboard. One of the kids handed him a piece of chalk. He fell down on his bottom and laughed. The nurse put the board on the floor.
“See Kevin,” she said as she moved the chalk in his hand across the board. Kevin’s little fingers wrapped around the chalk and he pressed it against the board. He made the letter ‘C.’
“Wow!” exclaimed Scott looking at him through a window. “That looks like the letter ‘C.’ Kevin turned and smiled at him then turned back to the board and drew a crooked letter ‘A’
“No way!” one of the six-year-old kids gasped. Kevin laughed then drew a perfect letter ‘T.’ “Look mommy. Kevin spelled cat.”
Trent and Mr. Gaydos pushed through the people and looked at the board. Trent turned around and ran to the kitchen. He dug through the gifts until he found the alphabet blocks. He dumped them out in front of Kevin.
“Spell cat Kevin,” he urged. Kevin smiled widely as his chubby hands picked up and put down the blocks until he found the right ones. Before everyone’s eyes were the letters ‘C’, ‘A’, ‘T.’
“Spell dog,” Mr. Gaydos said with anticipation. Kevin smiled at him then searched through the blocks. He plucked out the ‘G’, ‘D’, and ‘O’ and spelled dog. Everyone clapped in amazement.
Trent knelt at Kevin’s feet and said, “Kevin, can you say dog?” Kevin just looked at him and smiled. He then dug through the blocks and spelled cow. Everyone clapped.
“How did he learn to spell?” Trent asked Scott. Scott shrugged his shoulders and looked at the nurse.
Kevin then grabbed a bunch of blocks and spelled sesame street.
“Look!” Mr. Gaydos exclaimed. “Absolutely incredible.” He looked at his son and motioned for him to follow. When they were away from the hearing of the other guest they began to talk excitedly.
“The serum,” Trent said clasping his hands together.
“Yes! It actually worked.”
Kevin was asleep in his baby bed. He had had an exhausting day of tests. The testers determined that he could spell at a fifth-grade level and knew his numbers up to ten. By the time they left Kevin had learned the concept of addition and subtraction. They tried to teach him multiplication but he fell asleep. They could not determine if he was incapable of speech or just refusing to speak. He was scheduled for an appointment with a speech therapist the next morning.
As he slept he dreamed. There was a tired sick looking woman smiling at him. She softly called his name. “Kevin. Kevin. I’m your mommy. Don’t forget me, son.” She reached her hand towards his face and Kevin watched it fade before she touched him. Kevin sent a confused look to her face as that too began to fade also. He heard her voice saying again even more softly, “I’m your mommy.”
He opened his eyes and looked around his bedroom. There was a dim light flowing into the window so he knew it was evening. He reached over the bars on his baby bed and lowered them. He quietly climbed down and went to find his nurse or Scott. He managed the stairs and heard voices in the living room. He tried to walk then decided to just crawl in the direction of the voices.
“He’s not your son Scott. They can do whatever they want with him.” It was Tina’s voice.
Kevin sat down just outside the living room door. He knew he was too small to open it so he just waited until they came out. He listened, amused by the muffled sound of their voices through the door.
“He may not be your son but he sure the hell is mine!” Scott said bitterly. Kevin heard the anger in his voice and became concerned. “I know you don’t care about him. You never did. You were too concerned about what people would think of his dark skin. You’re more prejudice than white people.”
“Okay, I admit I wasn’t crazy about his color at first but he has grown on me. But it’s not fair to keep throwing that up in my face. I love Kevin as much as you do.”
“No you don’t,” Scott sneered vehemently. “I’ve seen you when you didn’t think anyone was looking. I’ve seen the way you look at him.”
“All right. His staring bothers me. Those weird eyes bother me too, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about him. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re gonna take him away and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Kevin thought he heard Scott crying. He started pushing the door with his little pudgy hands and managed to make it rattle. He heard footsteps and the door was opened by Scott.
“Kevin,” he gasped. He scooped the baby up in his arms and held him tightly. Kevin wrapped his arms around Scott’s neck and pressed his face against his face. He stared at Tina as he clung to his daddy. Kevin had already formatted a plan.
“Come on honey. Won’t you eat for me?” Kevin turned his head away from Nurse and closed his eyes. He was glad to see her. It had been more than two weeks since he had seen her or Scott. Mr. Gaydos had whisked him away from the Joneses soon after his birthday party. Kevin was put on a plane and taken to a school in Hawaii. He was thrust into private classes teaching him vocabulary and mathematics. He failed every test and refused to eat. Now he was in a hospital with an IV to keep him hydrated. He was fed through a feeding tube. In the time he had been there he had grown thinner and more stubborn. He knew he would not lose.
His nurse had been flown in to care for him. He touched her cheek with his little skinny hand and smiled at her. He was glad to see her but it was not enough.
Trent watched from across the room. His father sat next to him.
“Perhaps we can transfer Scott Jones to this campus,” Trent suggested.
“What other choice do we have?” Mr. Gaydos agreed. Kevin smiled. He had won. He had also learned to manipulate people.