Vascular System

He looked up from his biology book and asked me with an earnest face why they had two different names for the circulatory system. I told him that the vascular system was more outdated, but that it was harder to scrub something from years of references in textbooks so they still reference it.

“But isn’t the vascular system in plants too? That’s crazy.”

I nodded and continued cutting the vegetables for dinner, sliding my knife easily through the carrot as we talked. “It may be, but you should never underestimate the level of crazy that one can experience when dealing with any aspect of the heart.”

For a little while he didn’t say anything else, and I was so concentrated on getting dinner ready that I didn’t notice until I felt the weight of his gaze. He wasn’t going to interrupt my concentration, but it was clear that he was waiting for my attention. I didn’t immediately look up but rather finished slicing the cucumber and slid it into the salad bowl alongside the tomatoes and carrots.

Then I looked up and met his gaze, “Yes?”

He was barely fourteen, that soft age between the harsh expectations of society and the soft touch of childhood. In that instant I could see the person he was going to become as clearly as I could see the child he’d been. My arms longed to gather him up, pull him tight in a hug and wrap myself in the memories.

Time was an evil mistress, and I blinked back at the sudden tears in my eyes.

“Do you mean that love is crazy?” he asked, his brows drawn together in serious contemplation. I almost chuckled at his concern, but then I remembered how moments ago I was ready to swaddle him like a babe for one more hit of that deep motherly love.

“Yes,” I started, holding up my finger when I could see the apprehension in his face, “all love is crazy, but that does not mean it is bad. Rather, it is exciting and  tense and sadness and happiness. And it is all of these things all at once. But life would be a flat wasteland without it.”

“Huh,” he commented, blushing a little as he looked over my shoulder. I wondered if he was thinking about a girl or if he was contemplating future loves. I almost asked, but instead reached for the head of lettuce and slid it onto the cutting board as he dipped his head back to his studies and I began chopping the salad.

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