Spandex Not Required

Rachael - Christiansburg, Virginia
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

He didn’t wear a cape. Thank God there was no spandex involved. He didn’t have any super strength or x-ray vision or extreme stretchability. And he had no idea what he was doing, not for months, because there was no way for him to know. Believe me, I wish I had some sort of Bat signal-type deal that I could send up and he would come plying up in a souped-up hot rod just in time to catch me and keep me from falling. But that didn’t exist. And I learned that there was no need for it.

Believe me, I fell a lot, and those left me with a few bumps, cuts, and bruises, visible or not, as falls usually do. Without any beacon though, my spandex-free hero swept me up and helped me stand. His sweeping reflected him: uncoordinated and slightly oblivious, not exactly how a hero “should” sweep in, but he was a hero just the same.

Simple words said absentmindedly became laughs that blanketed tears. Online conversations in late-night sleepy stupors replaced infuriated raised words. And weekend 3-hour movies prevented seclusion and the creation of more sharp reminders, faded, but still visible today. Those were his gadgets and super powers and Virginia Tech wear was his super suit and that was thirty times enough. In the midst of blacks and reds came white and with him, life, or maybe an assurance to live.

It was okay that for months he didn’t know. His friendly spirit blanked out the bad and saw only good. But a hero took only a few months to unwrap two years of wringing hands and pinched emotions.

There’s no need to know exactly what is going on. There’s no need to see every inch of effect and shadow. What’s behind the smoke and mirrors can be changed without knowing it’s there, and a hero doesn’t need perfectly quaffed hair and underwear on over his tights to be incredible. A hero can wear only Tech shirts and clumsiness as his costume and still save someone; the stereotypical hero is overrated, anyway. A hero can be a hero without knowing he’s one and I believe this because I know.

My hero wore Tech wear and a smile, and with his superpowers, he saved me.