Playing on the radio in the car on the morning school run was a news item – a gay man talking about being the victim of homophobic abuse.
“What type of gay is he talking about, mummy?”
It’s a Tuesday morning, I’m running late for work, I’ve not had my fifth cup of coffee of the morning yet; I’m not mentally prepared for this particular start to my day.
I take a deep breath.
“What do you mean, darling?”
“Well, is he happy or, you know – gay, gay!” He pulls a face.
Master A has two gay godfathers, I have a number of friends from the LGBT community (back in the day, we just called them gay) but I’ve never tackled the subject of same sex relationships with my son.
I take another deep breath.
“Why don’t you tell me what you think gay means?”
“The opposite of lesbian,” he says, knowingly.
OK, I can see this subject may take some time to negotiate, time that I haven’t exactly got on the morning merry-go-round.
I quickly – and rather crudely - explain to him that gay “is when two men are good friends”.
“No, it’s not, Mummy. I’ve got friends and I’m not gay. It’s what they do after they’re married.”
I forget that I’m dealing with a nine-year-old boy who, despite my monitoring of YouTube content, probably has seen way too much than he ought to but who doesn’t entirely grasp what’s going on.
“The thing is, Mummy, I understand why men are gay but I don’t understand why girls are – that’s just soooooo gross.”
At this point, I want to stick my fingers in my ears but I’m not hands free; my head is about to explode. I have no idea what he means, or what, if anything this may suggest for the future.
I quickly switch from radio to CD. Master A starts singing along to the Trolls film soundtrack, instantly forgetting the conversation.
I’m kicking myself, asking myself over and over again “Why.” Maybe I still have time to join the school’s carpool programme.