Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Saving Superman

-A short story-

My best memories of childhood always began with a hunt through the linen closet. I would be looking each time for the indispensable superhero necessities: a rag to fashion a cape- an old towel would do perfectly- and a strip of cloth for a mask. A few tucks here, a little adjusting there, a poor attempt at forming a knot and, voila, I became a caped hero, defending the world from the masked marauders of the night.

There was always that anticipation of dressing up, that delicious feeling of being someone else for a short period of time, where my reality would slip away and I could escape from the confines of my small, childhood world. In those fantasy-filled moments, I fully believed I had become one of them and that by defeating my imaginary villains, I was somehow protecting the world from the horrors that plagued it. As if by simply wearing a cape, I could take the burdens of the world upon my childish frame.

But I was young and my sheltered eyes had seen little of those horrors; my imagination unable to truly construct what held the world in bondage. My war was of a fun sort, where the good guys always won and vengeance always dealt without fail. When I look back upon that period of my existence, it is easy to laugh at the ignorance of my childhood innocence. Because to me then, the world was of a monochrome nature; where right and wrong were divided as clearly as day and night. Not at all like the hazy twilight where I find myself pondering such beliefs, now so many years in the future.

And what is it that I believe now? For the difference between adults and children is that we see the world through a different lens, so that we often reject what is right before our eyes: the pure, the innocent, all that is simple and good is lost in the shadows of cynicism. It is our inability to clearly distinguish the difference between night and day that sends us to the stumbling block of nations. Maybe if, for a moment, every leader of every country were to lower himself to the eye level of a five-year-old, the world would be a better place. But these are most likely the mad ramblings of a delusional dreamer.

So is that why today I once again yearn to see things through the over-simplified worldview of youth? It’s morning once more and I’m looking out the window. I hear laughter and soon see a boy appear from behind the house across the street. He is wearing a mask, his eyes peering out from its exaggerated features. I’m trying to discern whose face he is hiding behind, almost frantically now because I think I already know. He is running and jumping, twirling and bouncing through the sun-dappled morning. And suddenly- might it be because of the angle of the sun?- I can see it clearly. For here I am, in a cape once more, but trying to save superman.