One Hell of Hero
I was talking with a new co-worker about Dr. Who. I had mentioned to her that I visited England last year, and would return this year. She got a bit jealous, and then said, “Your parents must have left you a lot of money.”
Honestly, it’s not that expensive. If you know the right websites, and book during the right time, it’s very affordable.
I knew she was joking, but hearing it triggered something.
I calmly said, “My mother didn’t leave me any money.”
That’s not entirely true, as she had some pocket change, but that was about it. I didn’t keep that money for myself. Instead, I spent it to buy Yesterday some cat food. It still feels weird not to buy her food, though she’s been gone since February.
My co-worker looked at me, and saw how serious I was.
I then said, “My mother passed away last year.”
“Yes, she did. July 26th.”
“Oh, my God. I feel like a dick. It had to be on my birthday.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “You had no way of knowing.”
She then asked, “Was it cancer?”
“No,” I replied.
I admitted that I didn’t want to go into the specifics of it at work. But, I did tell her the cause of death.
I didn’t launch into the story because I didn’t have the time for it, nor did I want to repeat it. It’s difficult enough to even think about it, let alone tell it again. So much so that I haven’t read over the blog entry where I wrote about her death. There’s probably typos all over it, but I don’t know if I can proof read it. God knows how I’ll feel when I eventually do read it again. Though, truth be told, my memory of that day is still vivid. It always will be.
I then added, “I lost my mom, but I’m not a superhero or anything. I’m just me.”
My coworker than said, “You study psychology. You’ve been to England. You lost your mom. I was going to make a Batman reference, but that would be wrong now. I don’t believe you’re not a superhero.”
“Thanks,” I said.
I smiled a little, and then we went back to work.
Truth be told, I identify more with Daredevil, but Batman is a great compliment. Still, I’m no superhero. I don’t have special powers. I make a lot of mistakes. I sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong moment. I don’t have six-pack abs. As for a costume…I guess the flat cap and army jacket count. I try not to prowl the streets at night, as there’s really not much to do late in the city. That, and I usually work early, or have class early. Even denizens of the night need to sleep.
I sometimes think I’m on a hero’s journey. Julie was the first one to point that out. It was something I had kept secret, because I thought it sounded silly.
I told Lady Faye recently, and she said, “There’s nothing silly about that. The world needs heroes.”
So, I try. I think that’s all anyone can do.
I believe that every experience I have builds me in some way. I try to see each of them as learning experiences. I see the people I love and admire as my teachers. They are all guides through a world of uncertainty. I learn what I can from each of them.
I don’t know if I’m a hero. Or, if I’ll ever become one. What I do know is that I’m propelled forward to do better today than I did the day before. Despite the mistakes I make along the way, I keep trying. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. But I believe that what awaits me in the future is better than what happened in the past. I also believe that if one does persist, one does succeed. It won’t be easy, but it can happen.
I also believe that where ever the journey leads me…it will be some place amazing.
Hopefully, I can rack up some frequent flier miles in the process. But I’m not shelling out for spandex.
Copyright Riley Joyce 2017
Photo: Copyright Riley Joyce 2017.
The photo was taken on Halloween night of 1989. Me as Batman.