“You aren’t a superhero,” he said, and lingered in the doorframe for a moment just to see what she would do.
To see if she might find the courage, within a chest pumped full with pride, to admit she knew it too.
For she really was no superhero and her heart did far more breaking than her arms ever did holding. She scaled the sides of conversations that never invited her in but she could not scale a building.
She, well, she was a girl who got all tied up in the saving—tightly wound like the cop that meets the robber in the old cartoon shows—too tied up to remember she was really just a human being.
A human being. How peculiar. So small. So fragile.
No Superman. No Batman. No Wonder Woman, just a Woman prone to Wander.
Just a girl left to find out, after all the wreckage had fallen from her shoulders, that even heroes need something far more super than them. Something greater to hitch prayers to at night. Someone far greater than a silly man in lycra pants to handle the swinging and swaying of the Milky Way, as it has no choice but to rock the world’s sorrow to and fro. Back & forth.
And the hurt was in her hair that day. All up in her hair like yarn strung into braids. The hurt was on her face. It lived in her toes. It paid rent to her elbows and made roommates with her kneecaps.
The boy could trace the hurt in every crook of longitude and latitude of the girl he’d known since the days when chocolate milk and grape Pop Rocks could heal her.
He turned—foot to foot—and found solace in a space where the girl wouldn’t find him. He closed the door and uncovered his knees. His prayerful knees that were made to kiss the floors on days where girls take off their Heavy Superhero Capes.
“Papa, Papa,” he cried to the sky. To a God who thought that ceilings that concealed Him were nonsense. “Help her to discover her hands. Her terrible, unreliable hands. The ones that want to hold so bad, even when they know they must be held for a time.”
Hold & Be Held.
Hold & Be Held.
“One requires more surrender than the other, Papa.”
Hold & Be Held.
One asks Control to curtsie at the door.
“Let her hands Be Held so that she might Behold someone as wonderful as You, someone who stretches far beyond the reach of her Tiny Little Hands.”
The boy believed in a God who kissed frostbitten fingertips. Who whispered in the morning while his children still pulled sleep in with both arms. A God who wept to see his children struggle and ached to say, “That world on your shoulders does not fit you. Let me take it. Here, let me take it.”
The boy believed in a God who hated to see His children in capes. For children in capes forget the ones who made the capes for them, the ones who knit them before the cape and packed a heart tight so carefully with all the ways they would learn to soar one day.
One day. One day.
The girl knew the boy. Though not all the longitude and latitude of him. She never knew the way he crept into closets and found ways to place her at the front of his prayers. Because she was worth it. She had always been worth it.
The girl did not know the God who kissed the frostbitten fingertips, who took worlds off of shoulders and hated to see His children in capes. But she wanted to. She wanted to.
And so how does the story begin? How then, oh, how does the story begin?
The girl waited for the boy who had known since the ways when chocolate milk and grape Pop Rocks could heal her. She found him lingering in the doorway. She patted the ground beside her and motioned him to join.
He did, for he loved her so. He loved her so.
And together they began—with trembling fingers—to unknot the cape tied so tightly round her neck. And let the heaviness fall down. Let the heaviness fall down all around them.
And all the while, through every knot and tremble, the boy whispered tales into the ear of the girl. Tales of a God Who Knit Her so that She’d Never Need to Knit a Cape.