Harrison was four years old and, like most four year olds, was in the middle of a very important task. In the case of this particular four year old, he was digging in the mud with a stick. His mother was sitting on the park bench a few metres away, engrossed in a phone call on her Blackberry, only vaguely watching her son.
Harrison was a handsome young lad with eyes as blue as sapphires and a mop of thick blonde hair. He was wearing his new green winter coat that his grandma had bought him for Christmas and a pair of Bob the Builder gloves. It was the first time he'd been to the park since Christmas as it had been so cold.
Harrison was a clever child, and very well behaved. He already understood that he should always stay where his mum could see him, that you can talk to strangers but you shouldn't go away with them, and that if he cried for just long enough, he would get an ice cream.
A particularly strong breeze unsteadied him and he stood up properly to look down the path. From the same direction the wind came, two men were walking towards him. He could tell that they were younger than his mum, but probably not by much. The two men were dressed in coats and scarves and, Harrison noted, they were holding hands.
"Hello," said one of the men as he walked past the little boy in wellies.
"My name's Harrison," said Harrison, in that certain way that all children can speak, completely unafraid and unabashed, something that we all lose later in life.
"Well, hello Harrison," said the first man. "My name is Dominic, and this is Matthew." He pointed to the second man who waved. "What are you doing?"
Harrison looked quickly at his mum, who was apparently oblivious to his actions. He felt happy that this new person was taking an interest in him.
"I'm digging a hole," said Harrison. "It isn't very big though."
"Oh no, well we can't have that," said Dominic. He wore glasses, which Harrison thought made his brown eyes look very big. He said so, and Dominic laughed.
"I have to have these so I can see everything," he said, crouching down to Harrison's height.
"Can you see things better with bigger eyes?" he asked. Matthew nudged Dominic with his leg, but the action was ignored.
"Much better," smiled Dominic. He looked at the divot that Harrison had carved. "What are you digging a hole for?"
"I'm going to go underground," said Harrison. "But first I will need to find a mole."
"Yes, a mole," said Harrison, annoyed at another silly grown up who didn't know what he meant. "Of course I need a mole because moles live underground and he can help me."
"Can moles do that then?" said Dominic, feeling more and more childish with each passing moment.
"Of course they can," said Harrison. "Everyone knows that moles are helpful to you." Tiring a little of the idiot grown up, he returned to prodding the mud with his stick. Dominic picked up a stick and began scraping at the mud too.
"Why are you helping me?" Harrison looked at Dominic and screwed his face up in confusion.
"I just thought you might like some help," said Dominic. "We're not doing anything, we can help you, can't we Matt?" Dominic looked up at Matthew who was still standing up. He checked his watch and then, begrudgingly, nodded. He crouched down next to Dominic, picked up a stick and began sticking it in the mud at random intervals.
"Are you two friends?" said Harrison, not looking up from the busy task at hand.
"Sort of," said Dominic. "Is your mummy married to your daddy?"
"Yes," Harrison looked excited at the mention of his dad. "Daddy is a doctor and he goes in the ambulance and he helps people."
"That sounds a good job," Matthew spoke for the first time. Harrison hadn't noticed that Dominic had prodded him to join in.
"Well, your mummy and daddy are married," said Dominic. "And so are me and Matthew." This seemed a little too much for Harrison and he had to stop his important task to take it in.
"Is one of you a lady?" said Harrison, his brow furrowed. "Is Matthew a lady?" Dominic laughed and Matthew smirked – it was hard to be angry with an innocent child.
"No, we are both men, but we are married," said Dominic. "Well, as good as married anyway, though it isn't called that."
"So Matthew is your husband and you are his husband?"
"Which one of you is the wife then?"
"Neither of us is."
"So you're both husbands?"
"Indeed we are," said Dominic, still absent-mindedly drawing in the mud with his stick. Harrison was taking in this new information, his hands resting on his hips as he thought about it.
"That's nice," he said, in a tone that suggested that his word was final. He looked at his muddy divot again. "I'm going to carry on digging now. Bye."
"Goodbye Harrison," laughed Dominic, as he and Matthew stood up again. They held hands and the four year old looked up at them once more.
"Thank you for helping me dig," he smiled.
"Good luck with the mole!" said Matthew. Dominic ruffled his new friend's hair, receiving a giggle for his efforts, and the two men walked away from Harrison, who continued digging after another glance at his mother, who was now just staring at the screen of her Blackberry.
His afternoon was not wasted. Although he did not find a mole, he found two worms (which he put in his pocket) and complete acceptance (which he put in his heart). The new generation was on its way, and it was one that accepted people for who they were.