I am not a music person in the way my sons and husband are music people. My oldest son still keeps his DJ name even as he creeps towards 30. He gets music. It comes off of his fingers like electricity. He studies music. Breaks them down into heartbeats and melds them together constantly. My youngest has adopted his father’s taste for music, Beatles, Bee Gees, Bowie. He does not have the wide range of genres that his older brother has. He just knows what he likes: albums from the 70s and 80s that he still plays on his record player. His Instagram name is Major_Tomathy.
Another thing about my youngest son. I hate the name Tom, even if we gave it to him. I was guilted into it by a dying man, my father-in-law. Still, my son claims the name Tom even though we have always called him by his Hawaiian name, Kalamapono or Pono.
Then David Bowie dies and he is what is on my Spotify discover feed so as I am desperately trying to prepare my paper for a symposium I am doing early next week, I go to Starbucks, put my earbuds in, turn on my Spotify and start to type. David Bowie’s Space Oddity comes on and when David Bowie is in my ear, the way the one guitar starts so soft that I am forced to turn my music up, “Ground control to Major Tom” almost robotic until he harmonizes with himself, starts counting, “may God’s love be with you” and then this psychedelic music, a dirge really.
After 18 years, I understand why my son keeps his English name despite all of my ranting and bitching. Bowie is a major reader, like Pono. I wonder if he knows that? I see the person “Tom” strives to be, his homage in his Instagram name. Somehow with the death of David Bowie and with the slow, dreamy music blasting in my ear, I realize I learned something new about my son in a weird way and I recognize now that I think his “spaceship knows which way to go” – I know he will go. I feel it with every pore in my body, but though he will be far, there’s nothing I can do
but trust he will be fine, because he is Major Tom, but he is also Pono.