Claire sat in her cubicle, her mind racing through the events of the previous day, from the moment she gained her ability to speak and understand any language. She’d definitely read during that time, wouldn’t have been able to work half the day like she had; suddenly inspired, she checked the outbox of the email program on her computer, saw that she somehow had avoided sending any messages yesterday. She’d written and edited documents, yes, but hadn’t sent anything out for review.
She thought of all the foreign language programs she’d watched the night before, interrogating her memory for any words she’d read on screen. She’d been focused on the language, the miracle of her comprehensive comprehension; there may have been subtitles, signs in the background, but she hadn’t cared. The only words, yes, that she remembered seeing were the translation (or mistranslation, in her mind) of the South African aborigine during the documentary. The translation was in English . . . she minimized the email program, brought up the company’s web page, there was a Spanish version. She looked at the upper right corner of her screen, found the words En Española. But what she read was Ferment Chopstick. She then frantically retrieved an external web site that offered translations in several languages, her heart sinking as she scanned through pages of comprehensible gibberish, an infection of words signifying only her incomprehension.
Claire closed the web browser in dismay, sat back gloomily in her chair. She still had the ability to speak and understand any language, she’d proven that this morning and more importantly knew it to be true. And she could red her native language. But she couldn’t read other languages, and couldn’t write in any language — without the ability to read and write, was her new talent of any real worth?