Peter was beginning to learn how to read when I noticed Pop's tattoo for the first time. Peter pointed it out to me as he tried the first sound out on his tiny tongue.


I snapped impatiently, having three years of reading experience on my brother and completed he word for him.

"It says 'love'."

Pop smiled up at us, despite Peter's disappointed glare at me. He continued this even as something on tv snagged my attention. As a kid, Thanksgiving was boring. I didn't quite understand the point of it, and I always thought of it as the barrier holiday until Christmas, as if its only purpose was to hold us over, because we are all spoiled Americans who like food and have too much time on our hands, and also enjoy taking off of work just to stuff our faces with food that we only ate at this time of year by tradition. I could never imagine eating a turkey in the middle of July.

Christmas was the real deal; momma let me wear dresses and flashy new clothes I was not allowed to wear to school.

Peter's mouth, crusted with chocolate frosting and food scraps, smacked open. Timidly, he placed a finger over the faded tattoo.

"Who do you love?" He asked, childlike blue eyes staring into Pop's amiable brown eyes.


I can recall Peter's dumbfounded face; young and incapable of comprehending the ability to love everyone on the planet. Peter interpreted this as that Pop knew every living person on the planet, and began hoping to be introduced to Batman soon.

A few weeks later, I found Peter seizing a blue sharpie marker in one hand and on his arm were four scrawny scribble letters: