Lunchtime. About forty-five minutes ago. Anna and I are at the kitchen table. Carlo is … well, that’s a good question, but he always comes back, usually dirty and sweaty and happy, but that’s not important right now.

Anna: Daddy?

Me: What, Anna?

Anna: Would you die if someone chopped you in half?

Me: Almost certainly. Why would you ask me that?

Anna: Just wanted to know.

Me: No one is going to chop you in half, Anna.

Anna: I know. Just wondered … Maybe if they got really mad at you they would.

Me: No one you know could ever be that mad at you that they would chop you in half.

Anna: Carlo gets mad at me sometimes. Like, really, really mad.

Me: I’m not going to let Carlo chop you in half. Promise.  And I don’t think he’d do that anyway. He doesn’t get that mad at you.

Anna and I eat our lunch.

Anna: Would you die if someone chopped off the top of your head?

Me: Like, just the top?  How far down from the top are we talking, here?

Anna: [holds her hand at eyebrow level]

Me: Yes, you’d die then because your brain would be gone.

Anna: Yeah, I guess you couldn’t live without your brain.

Me: Anna, no one is going to chop the top of your head off.

Anna: I know. I was just wondering.

Anna:  You need your heart and your brain. Have to have both of those, right?

Me: Yes. But I guess you could get a heart transplant or an artificial heart. You have to have some sort of heart, but you can live without the one you have now if you have to if everything goes just right.

Anna: Yeah.

Anna and I eat our lunch. Ryan Adams’ Ashes and Fire plays in the background.

Anna: What do people mean when they say you have a “broken heart?”

Me: [thinks about how to answer this].  Well, when people are in love, they say that they can feel it in their heart.  And when that love goes away for some reason, people say that they can feel the pain there too. As if their heart is … broken.

Anna: [thinks about the answer for a bit]

Anna:  Daddy? Have you ever had a broken heart?

Me: [silently crumbles, silently dies]

Me: Done with lunch, honey?

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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