“I wanna be a hero,” she says, looking up at the teacher.
Second grade, career day.
“That’s nice, honey,” her teacher responds. “But what about a real job? What about a nurse, or a teacher, or an astronaut?”
“I wanna be a hero.”
Pigtails, Iron Man mask, Thor t-shirt, Spider-Man shoes. She doesn’t care that she’s playing mix-and-match with the Marvel universe, she just wants to be a hero. Arms across her chest, cape at her back.
She wants to be a hero.
“Mama, I want to be a hero.”
She looks down at him, smiles.
“That’s a great thing to be,” she says. She finds a cape for her five-year-old, helps him make a mask.
“What’s your superpower?” she asks. “Do you think you could try and help the world with kindness? You would be a wonderful superhero.”
He throws his fists in the air and zooms around the room, whooshing his cape behind him as he saves stuffed cats from windowsills and Lego men from a burning building.
He sits beside her bed, both his hands clasping hers. Staring down at the shell of the woman who used to be his mother. He knows that he doesn’t have much time, that the cancer has eaten her away, that he needs to say goodbye.
But when her eyes open and she smiles up at him, it’s like she’s never changed. Same mom who cheered him through five-year-old dreams and high school football games and college classes.
And as her eyes slip closed again, he whispers,
“You’ve always been my hero.”
it’s five minute friday, where we write for five minutes, no editing, no second-guessing. maybe a little second guessing. a certain someone keeps telling me to write fiction, so here you go. join us at Lisa-Jo’s, won’t you??