Super heroes have lots of options. Say you were a super hero and you had some choices like…
A. Flick your pinkie toppleing your unworthy adversary then go back to being bored.
B. Not have an adversary at all. Why bother. Just relax and know you are Super.
C-Z. Forget that you are Super, and dream of being happy. So you can somehow get the hell out of the crap you are in. Then you love someone. “Oh, hell no!” when your love is challenged beyond what yo can stand. So you stand up. That’s when yo realize that you were born or bitten or channeled or visited or ordained or, traded at birth, and you are really powerful, super and a whole family, kingdom and power you had never heard of is on your side cheering, adoring you backing you up. You discover you are their future, their only hope, and the hope of the world that your love lives in, and well the rest is history. I mean story. Myth. Comic strip. Hollywood. Magical. Captivating.
It’s the same boring thing over and over.
Over and over. The kid discovers he is not the weakling he thought he was. He becomes more after he falls in love. Grows into being invincible by mistake, and rescues the female who is the key somehow to the whole story. He is a super man now. She is loved, and super.
I’m bored already looking at this. What is new under the sun?
Then when the next Avatar comes out, I’m wafted off to that cloudy place again. The magical whimsies of the kid wizards, and computer geniuses coming back from the future with solutions to unhappiness, and farm boys turned radical pirate princes out of adoration of a princess, or kids having the secret key that will undestroy the world as we know and love it (some days) and like magic, its all new again. Till the awakening jolt of realization. That Myth is old recycled. Its just that bit of freshness there that got you. That twist of say the Ancient Greek Gods and Mount Olimpus are up with the times alive and well in NY City, of-course, and And completely unexpected but, obvious, once you think about it, Hades is at Hollywood.
And somehow I’ll be happy to find out the next unimaginable fantasy, taken and thrilled or laughing at the unscrupulous imagination of it. Then wonder, if that were true mythically of course, what would be going on here?
And when my love is challenged, what have I done? Why do these stories thrill kids all over the world and the kid in me?
What would I do If I were a god?
What about a god kid?
What about a human?
What am I?
What do I care about?
Then I remembered.
On the way to my brother’s wedding, from Austin to California, my sister and I stopped off to visit our dear friend Eva in Phoenix. We had driven all night. With a few hours of rest at a rest stop. We hadn’t planned out our trip. When we came to a Dark smoky motel at a truck stop, tired and really to sleep, the prospect of going in there felt less appealing than driving on. The long dessert stretch through the the invisible flatlands of Texas to new Mexico, came to life with Salsa music dancing in the seats from relif of not being locked away in that dim place and on to Eva’s! We could spend a whole day, and night with her this way. The rest stop felt deserted and friendly, cozy and crowded all at the same time. And we couldn’t keep our eyes open anyway, till dawn was in our eyes.
In mid afternoon, I drove up to were Eva’s house was supposed to be in Gaby’s memory. I think it’s this house.
No, the next house. Wait, I don’t remember that house being built there. No wiat. That was it. Stop. We are here. That house just wasn’t being built right there. We were in front of a practical well kept suburban Phoenix house with a wide front, driveway to a garage a front lawn, the usual wooden privacy fence, we half passed up her house when Gaby said: Oh heah that was her house. The car stopped in front of the fence at the curb halve way into the empty lot where the soon to be house next door would build their privacy fence. I sighed with tired relief to be here at last, and looked up to turn back and survay Eva’s new place in this town when I saw a man slip into the empty space between the house and the new building. I think he came out of Eva’s fence.
Hey Gaby, is that her new man? He looked a little bit old for her. It wasn’t her dad, I know her dad. It’s not a fit with anybody I know in her circle or even the new friends I know about. Gaby looks up. No, that’s not her man.
Do you know him?
No. Why should I know him?
Well, He might have just walked out of Eva’s fence. The idea confused me. The scene didn’t translate. A man is his late 40’s or so walked from somewhere in the area of Eva’s fence, perhaps behind her house then…and to the construction site next door. Usually men turn and look at pretty young woman in our early 30s who drive up to their homes or work places, at least notice. This guy didn’t turn his head. He looked straight ahead.
The construction cite was littered with bags of cement, hoses, tools, buckets, like a place deserted for lunch hour by workmen ready to come back and work on the lawn fixtures after lunch or a weekend project abandoned from exhaustion. The man walked over tho the cite, surveyed it like it was his. Picked up a bucket like it was his and carried it to the front of the yard, put it down like he wanted it there. He reached down for a hose and carried it to another spot. I vaguely wondered what he was working on, what the project was. The hose was not turned on. The bucket was placed randomly. He picked up something else and placed it down randomly somewhere else. I got zero gratification form figuring out what he was working on. You know that feeling oh, I’m smart I figured he was gonna wet a pile of cement, or aha that is a landscaping rock garden he is working on I can tell by were he put that hose, then that bucket then that tool, or whatever, so I’d stop wondering, get bored, get out of the car. There was no rush. My but was tired. Eva was gone to work, her sweet little Lavi was at the per-school she was so proud for her to attend, where they let kids be themselves just like Eva is, and her parents were with her. We had talked about it over the phone, and email. Now I was finally going to meet her daughter. She was pregnant last we saw each other. I can’t wait till she gets home. I’m imagining feeling, carried away with a dream of Eva, this baby. This baby. My baby was 5 years old sitting in the back seat. We had been pregnant together. Best friends, roommates. The best summer of my life, then we were so happy to be going to deliver six weeks apart. I got a baby out of the deal. she had gotten a broken heart and a son, and the memory of a son. Now we had that in common. When the doctor told her her son would not live. I know how to be there for her. My son had not lived either. Now we both had daughters. Mine two years older than hers. And I couldn’t wait to meet…What, hmmmhh, why did that guy just move that cinder block from there to there? What is going on here? My mind drifted in a cloudy loop of nothing to go on and no were to go, nothing made sense. I stared int space, closed my eyes…I’ll get out in a minute, Gaby, you go ahead. She hesitated, sat back in the seat, started collecting empty containers and CDs and putting things back into her backpack folding folding her sweater. Transfixed by nothing, I’m transported to that place of stillness for an instant, sorta a place I used to work so hard to find, were everything makes sense for a minute, or ceases to matter when its to much to bear. I didn’t know I’d gone there, since usually it was a dire situation, or allot of pain that would force me to surrender and seek quite to be able to breath or just die.
She is mine!
You can’t touch her!
She is Mine because I love her. You can’t touch her.
The first words boomed commanding. Shocked me.
The second words stated the obvious. confirmed the absolute with the complete unquestioned authority. Was final, didn’t surprise me at all. Of course. Practically duh.
Then I was a weary traveler in my car.
There is something fishy about that guy Gaby. What he is doing doesn’t make sense. And he seemed to come out of Eva’s fence I think that’s what I saw.
What should we do?
He was suddenly on a bicycle starting away from the yard driving by us, past us, with his face turned at full attention on the empty front yard across the street; the only movement on the quiet, long, desert coldisac in a working neighborhood in middle of the working day he didn’t notice. We weren’t there.
What should we do? Should we tell Eva? I looked at Gaby. The words said themselves. I have done what I need to do. You decide what you want to do and do it, tell Eva or call the police or whatever. You do what you think needs to be done.
I’m done with this. It flashed as final as the authority of the feeing.
I’d forgotten all about it, when the next day, our girls were playing in the water out in the back yard and the side gate was unlatched. I observed. Lavi, to small to reach that latch. Unlatched gate with a toddler, didn’t feel like Eva. Nope, not a dad either. I latched it, and told Eva it had been unlatched, and just ajar. Guess she couldn’t register that kind of information cuz she stared blankly not registering the unimaginable for an instant, just as I had done.
I don’t think she believed me. I latched it. Or registered. It was more weirdness, that registered as nothing, cuz I’d totally let it rest and forgotten and it seemed unaccessible to her consciousness now that I think about it.
Eva took me to visit her daughter’s school and meet her teachers. WE were delighted together to have found the same kind of school for our girls. And just delighted that we had girls together. Her gold bracelet, with Isaac engraved on it, was in a little box on her dresser. I only wear it sometimes now. You know. Because he matters. I have Lavi now, but he matters, too. She Sparkled again, like she did that summer when we cooked, and talked almost every evening, and she told me about her Nana, a witch, who never did stop hanging out with her husband, after he died suddenly. After years of her having coffee and conversations with him every morning, sometimes really getting after him for being so stubborn, the grandkids would ask what he said this time, and she’d tell them. He is just as stubborn as when he was alive. And she got frustrated with him and would go off like the old Mexican lady’s do when men, and children are stubborn, and unreasonable, like her dear husband, and after after all these years too! She was indignant one minute, and glad he kept his word to never leave her the next. Eva kept her things that she had left for her, and our little apartment was adorned with her vase, her silverware was in the drawer, her glassware in the cupboard. Next to my favorite alter things where hers, her Nana’s, and they fit together perfectly. She said her Nana could be with us too, like her Tata was, with her, and sometimes she felt her. She asked me to not be sad when she died. She was happy here, and she would be happy with her husband there, and still care for Eva. To keep her stuff, and enjoy it, like she did, and she would be present with her in her things. So Eva’s Nana visited us, and I loved her in all her unusual being and let her be alive in our home. I felt her love in the turquoise dishtowels embroidered with colorful abstract Mexican cross stitch flowers. The huge orange and yellow seventies flowers on the stoneware, that was hers, made me smile to be born about the time she got these and she has loved them for as long as I’ve been alive. And she loves Eva, with care left for me, and I love her serving plates and I love her, and I love her love story, of how a boy of fourteen saw a girl of eight, and new instantly. I will marry her. Then waited until she, rare in her day, and community, graduated from secretary school, having wooed her since she came of age, and promised to wait till she was ready, to ask her to marry him. I loved him too. And the wild son they had. The wonder man master of both Mexico, and American balancing being completely both, like I’d never seen done, and a strong gregarious outspoken man. That man had Eva, and the world is perfect. She is my friend. I belong to her, to her stories, and to her Nana. Her Nana belongs to me, just like like she does to her. It was a feeling I never described, or thought to describe, but was so strong it filled the summer like a cool ocean, and made me part of the world, that I’d never belonged to before. Now, I belonged to this ocean, in this ocean, it is me, and mine–It’s mine, because I love it.
The wedding was fun. I reveled with my family, cried without even wondering why, as my brother walked away down the isle in the grass of the back garden of his bride’s home, danced like a dervish, and drove my halve of the way back to Austin. All night, just to be thrilled again, to giggle and laugh as we drove by the spooked motel, beating the steering wheel with my palms, and the seat with my hips to La Got Fria.
It was so good to be back in my own bed. My eyes were less heavy. It was 6am. We laughed, and promised to do it again soon.
Work was fun and hot and challenging. Gaby, and I met for coffee, to talk and thrill about the adventures in our life’s and how we are changing, how magic seems to be everywhere. Serendipity. Close calls, excitement, chance meetings, Delightful people. We’d met often to splash our stories at each other like toddlers in a pool, for a while now. Since we both felt this strange new world alive in, and around us, like we were alone in this pool in our back yard, together.
Jess, did Eva call you?
Oh my god, she called me.
She was out of her mind, freaking out, terrified.
What the hell?
An officer knocked on her door.
Get you child and leave your house right now. We can’t ensure your safety.
She left. She could never get herself to go back to that house again. Even after….