He Asked What If

by Allie Nava

He sat stooped on the ground in his muddy overalls, his butter-soft fingers and hands clenched, his little neck craned back, staring up at his mother, doe-eyed, whisps of hair in his face, and asked, “What if women and men didn’t have to get married to have children, momma?” And then he curled his finger around his chin, contemplating, “What if the mommas were just paired with a dadda during the time they wanted to have children?” And when momma didn’t respond, he said, “Then there wouldn’t ever be any divorce, right momma?” But momma kept right on spooning her cookie dough onto her baking tray, though he heard momma sniffling a bit, just a bit. And so he said, “Then children would find it normal to see their mommas and daddas split up, and no one would be hurt, right momma?” Then momma wiped her pinky across the bottom of her eyes and turned around and looked down and him and asked, “How did you get so smart sweetheart?”


Allie Nava focuses on hidden stories and non-traditional character journeys. Her work has been published in 365tomorrows. She works with Bellevue Literary Review, and is a member of the Authors Guild.