Each student would write what they thought love was on each card.
Minnie Tufts wrote that love "is Mom, Dad, SissieKitty." One could assume that Minnie had a sister and a cat and had merely forgotten a space between the two or that Minnie had named her cat SissieKitty or that Minnie's parents had named Minnie's sister SissieKitty. But, one should not assume.
Randy Mitchell, who liked trains, wrote that love "is when I like something as much as I like trains."
Lila Portugal, who was rather straight-forward, wrote that love "is a feeling."
Jeremiah Gorkey, whose father was a, "colonel, general, admiral something- i think army," wrote that love "is being patriotic."
Geoffery Wordsworth, whose father was a baptist minister, wrote love "is a union between man and woman."
The Herman twins (Erin and Eliza), whose parents were scientists, wrote that love " is a collection and reaction of kemicals and hormones, too." Both spelled 'chemicals' in the exact same incorrect way.
Michael Walter said that love "is icky, but nice."
And Francine McFrances wrote that love "is I love Michael Walter."
But, Allister did not know what to write. He waved his teacher to his desk and, when she arrived, he asked, "What is it about love?"
It was a strangely-worded question. But, Allister would keep this form of questioning even after kindergarten- even after elementary, middle and high school, and his collegiate years. "What is it about..." anything, really.
I, for example, remember quite clearly a time decades later when an elder Allister looked me right in the eye and said, "What is it about eyes?" He stared straight into my eyes and waited for me to laugh, cry, or come up with the impossible answer. And I began to tell him about rods and cones and pupils and irises and refraction and reflection until I came to realize that that was not the answer he wanted. I realized he did not want an answer. I looked deep into his eyes and felt that he was resting inside my eyes, cradled beneath my retinas. He had found comfort there and wanted nothing more than to stay and, perhaps for me to find a comfy place where I could cradle in his retinas. What is it about eyes, indeed.
There was no immediate answer to questions like those. There may not have been an answer at all. But, bless that teacher's ever-loving heart, because she tried to answer the question. She began, "Well, love is more..."
And she stopped. And she stared. She did not know where to go or what to say next. And Allister's kindergarten mind put together a host of thoughts in his teacher's pause and he would fill more in as time went on. Love was more than what anyone knew how to say. Love was more than an obsession of one person or even two people. Love was more than a leap because some people fell right into it and stayed there. Even at that early age, Allister had already seen instances where love had sprouted for people at their beginnings and at their ends and all throughout their lives. And he saw it disappear and reappear and fade away and come from nowhere. He was aware of instances where love was heavenly and where love had dragged people through hell (though he would not have said, "hell," at that age). He had heard songs and flowery poetry where the words flowed forth and he had heard love stutter and stammer and barely get out a syllable. He had seen love move through all boundaries- race, gender, and religion. And, still, he did not know. He simply wanted to cradle himself in someone's heart and have them cradle themselves in his.
What was it about love?
His teacher did not know, either. She tried. She opened her mouth several times after she started to speak, but no words would come out. So, she just stood there and stared until it became too awkward to stand. And she simply walked away and left Allister at his desk.
And perhaps it would seem like Allister did not get his answer. But, he did. He wrote what his teacher said on each and every one of his cards to his classmates:
"Love is more. Love, Allister."