My son asks me why Tom Petty is a bad boy as we roll down the highway.
I tell him:
cuz he don't even miss her
he's a bad boy for breaking her heart
And just like that he requires more knowledge.
How does a heart break?
More and more questions and I lean back into my seat and run my fingers through my hair and tell him little secrets of the world. I tell him how we can hurt people with our love and he laughs like it is nonsense. I tell him that someday he will love someone more than Star Wars or mommy. He is defiant.
I say we change our minds and walk down dark streets
and fall down rabbit holes and make mistakes
and the world whips like a pinwheel sometimes
and all at once there is someone across a crowded someplace that you just have to kiss
He is very young this boy of mine and so I don't tell him about all the passion and the lust we can hide and seek and muck about. I don't tell him that we give a lot of ourselves away by the time we are old. I just explain that sometimes we can hurt people with our love. I tell him that love is stronger than all of us. It's like lightening. Like fire. It's the core of the earth. It is everything down the center of your body and inside of your beautiful shiny cortex where the neurons pump and pulsate like a sweaty discotheque.
It just happens. And then I end the conversation like I am very good at doing. If there was a job called "head conversation ender"- I would be the best at it. I would hold titles and wear a red sash through town like a monarch.
I just tell him to always try and be strong and good with his love and his bold sweet eyes look all around the interior of the van and he laughs that sweet syrup sound as we head down our tiny street.
And then he tugs on the tether that invisibly holds us together still.
He pulls it when he tells me that he will never break my heart.
He yanks it when he says that he never will be a bad boy.
He pulls it and it vibrates through me like a madness.
In the driveway we let Petty's nostalgia rumble around for a bit and just for a few spare moments I take him all in as I pour my eyes towards the rear view mirror. He is what love is. He is four years old and he is all of the unbroken parts of my heart.
He is right now at this very moving moment - the brilliant shining moon.