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      Little seven year old Jimmy sat in the window seat of the living room, the same spot he’d been in for six hours since returning from the comic book store with the haul of science fiction delight bought by that week’s allowance. Immersed in the pages synonymous with portals to other worlds, he was no longer the runt of the litter comprised of himself and four older brothers that considered him too little to include in their roughhousing. Shoulder-deep in the whirlwind of action of the Marvel and DC Universes, he wasn’t held back by his size or restricted by the limits of his strength. Someday, he thought to himself as he watched the other boys tackles each other in their game of backyard football, I’ll be as strong as Thor.

           Little ten year old Jimmy finally made it to the ticket booth, out of breath from trying to keep up with his older brothers. Taking his place in line, he patiently waited his turn to buy a ticket for the movie about his favorite comic book hero. He watched the line diminish agonizingly slow, bouncing on the balls of his feet to siphon some of the excited energy roiling though him. That week’s allowance that he’d purposefully kept himself out of the comic store to prevent himself from spending burned a hole in his pocket, the quarters jingling together as if they shared his enthusiasm. Finally – finally! – reaching to window, he asked the lady selling the tickets that he’d been too late. Every showing had been sold out. Someday, he thought to himself as he watched his brothers duck inside the theater, I’ll be as fast as the Flash.

Little thirteen year old Jimmy sat staring at the pile of mechanical parts he believed held the secret to a science project worthy of the coveted blue ribbon. He knew something mind-blowing was waiting for him to discover it and bring it to fruition. Tinkering away all the minutes available on the clock, he helped every nut, bolt, and wire find its rightful place in his masterpiece. In the glow of the midnight oil he excitedly burned with his creativity, he flipped the switch that would bring his mechanical Frankenstein to life, only to be greeted by a brief crackling noise and a puff of dark smoke. Groaning, he dissected the circuitry until he located the problem. Someday, he thought to himself as he used the tools commandeered from his father’s closet to reassemble his project, I’ll be as brilliant as Tony Stark.

Little fifteen year old Jimmy stood at the precipice of the cliff hanging out over the frigid water of the lake waiting below. Like the others in their group of friends, he’d sought a way to cool off in the midsummer heat. Like the others, he’d stripped down to his boxers as they all lined up at the edge. Like the others, he’d watched as Jason stepped up first and – without hesitation – sent himself reeling over the edge, his screams of joy the soundtrack for his descent until it was silenced by the depths that swallowed them. Like the others, he clapped and whooped in encouragement as one by one their figures dotted the surface of the green water below. He walked to the edge, his toes meeting nothing but open air, and took a deep breath to steady his shaking limbs. But he couldn’t do it, couldn’t make himself jump like the others did. Someday, he thought to himself as he tried to tune out the boos and laughter coming from down below, I’ll be as brave as Superman.

           Little seventeen year old Jimmy finally got up the nerve to approach Rain in the school hallway. He’d been hiding his crush on the blonde beauty for all four years of high school, but decided to throw caution to the wind and ask her if she would go to senior prom with him. The speech he’d practiced in the mirror for a solid week running on repeat in his mind, he tapped on her shoulder and the second those gorgeous blue eyes landed on him, his mouth ran dry and he forgot every word he’d carefully prepared. Stuttering and tripping over his words in his nervousness, his face was bright red with embarrassment. Someday, he thought to himself as he tried to work out why she said yes, I’ll be as silver-tongued as Loki.

           Little nineteen year old Jimmy went to the first of many college interviews, sporting a cheap suit and a sheen of sweat that never seemed to dry no matter how many times he blotted it away with his handkerchief. He’d watched the interviewer’s level of ease plummet to match his own as he fidgeted relentlessly, failed at maintaining eye contact, and spoke with as much charm and charisma as a puppy that just discovered it could howl. Someday, he thought to himself as the interviewer told him he had exactly the stunning academic track record they were looking for, I’ll be as confident as Constantine.

           Not-so-little twenty-eight year old Jimmy sits on the cushy couch in the living room of his home, the smell of fresh coffee permeating the entire house. He and the blonde haired little girl beside him who looks just like her mother pour over every page of the comics laying before them in spades, the collection he’s been building since he was a little boy sitting in the window. Holding her tiny hand, together they delve into the worlds hidden between the pages of the DC and Marvel comics and he watches as her captivatingly blue eyes light up in wonderment just like his own still do every time.

“Someday, I’ll be like them,” he proclaims out loud, holding up the worn copy of his favorite comic book whose cover depicts the Avengers assembled together as a single entity.

           “What do you mean?” inquires the little voice at his side.

           “That eventually I’ll be a hero.”

           “But you already are,” she says in the type of unabashed honesty only little children possess. “You’re my hero, Daddy.”

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4 comments

Joseph Varkis
15:31 Jul 04, 2020

Loved the ending

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Sarah Burke
01:22 Jul 08, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it!!! I'm glad you liked it.

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Erick Morin
03:24 Jul 08, 2020

I enjoyed your story. I liked the way you incorporated the different heroes at the end of each section. This helped the story progress in a thoughtful manner. I also enjoyed the ending. Great story.

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Sarah Burke
13:58 Jul 08, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it!!! I appreciate the feedback.

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