26 comments

Submitted on 07/03/2020

Categories: Drama

The minute I twirled the cape around my shoulders, I knew I wanted to be a superhero. Okay, my cape was a rag of a towel with orange and pink stripes, destined for the garbage. I used a pink hair clip to hold it around my neck. To be fair, I was seven years old. 


I put on my cape, closed my eyes, and vaulted off my bed. My stomach fluttered, and the air pushed my hair back. I was flying. No one could convince me otherwise. I got braver. I was flying off everything—until Mom caught me. She stopped me before I launched off the shed roof. Mom saved me from a broken bone or two that day.


“Samantha Marie, you will break your neck,” Mom said in a disapproving voice, shaking her finger at me, “stop being such a tom-boy.”


“Ah, Mom, I’m not a tom-boy, I’m a superhero. And my name is SAM!” I said, slinging my cape around and spinning in a circle.


“You’re about to be a superhero in timeout if you don’t listen,” Mom said, pointing to a chair in the corner. “And I’ll take your cape.” 


She didn’t take my cape, and I didn’t get a timeout. Mom threatened a lot but didn’t follow through much. I wore my cape that entire summer.


Joey, my best friend since kindergarten, lived next door. I flew over to show him my new ability. Joey and I played together every day, we were inseparable. He was the only boy that wasn’t stupid.


“Joey! Joey!” I yelled, running as fast as I could, my cape dancing behind me. “Come see what I can do.”


“I’m in here,” Joey yelled back, poking his head out of our homemade fort, “I’m busy!” 


Joey loved our fort. We had made it from an old refrigerator box, a torn-up sheet, and duct tape. It was a thing of beauty—until it rained for three days straight. 


“Get out of there and come here,” I said, slapping the old sheet hanging in the entrance of our cardboard bunker.


“I told you, I’m busy!” Joey snapped.


“Fine, I didn’t want to show you anyhow.” I threw a stick at the fort and stomped my foot.


“Oh, all right, what can you do?” Joey huffed and rolled out of the box.


“You're gonna be jealous.”


“Just show me already,” Joey threw his hands up and let out a sigh.


“Okay, watch,” I said. I took a deep breath, steadied myself, and launched off the bench by the picnic table. I stuck the fifteen-inch landing like it was nothing. 


“So what, you jumped off a bench,” Joey said, rolling his eyes.


“I did not jump, I flew,” I said, crossing my arms and sticking out my bottom lip. “I can fly, I’m a superhero!”


“You can’t be a superhero,” Joey said, “girls can’t be superheroes.”


“Really? Wonder Woman is a girl, and she’s a superhero,” I said, sticking my tongue out at him.


“Yeah, but you're not Wonder Woman, you're just a silly girl,” Joey said laughing.

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” I kicked the dirt and tromped away. 


I didn’t talk to Joey for an entire month, not until summer vacation was over. I don’t remember ever being mad at him again. We stayed best friends throughout school. We helped each other through the trials and tribulations of our teenage years. 


After graduation, I went out of state to college. Joey and I kept in touch; I talked to him every day for a while. I saw him on holiday breaks, and he visited me a few times at school. Eventually, we both had our separate lives and drifted apart. 


I graduated from college, went on to medical school, and spent another four years in residency for emergency medicine. The hours were long and grueling, but I loved caring for people. I had long given up my dream of being a superhero. 


I moved back to my hometown after fifteen years. I took a job at the local hospital as an emergency room doctor. It delighted my mother that I was close to home.


“Sam, call Joey and invite him over for dinner,” Mom said, pouring another cup of tea.


“You know I’m busy getting the apartment set up,” I said, “besides I haven’t talked to him in over three years. He may have a girlfriend or a wife for all I know.”


“Well, he doesn’t. I talked to him last month at the grocery store and he asked about you,” she said giving me one of her over the glasses looks.


“Oh, for the love of…” I mumbled, throwing a spoon towards the sink. “I’ll call him.”


I didn’t give any more thought to call Joey. I was working the night shift at the hospital. By the time I got home, I barely had the energy to shower, eat, and go to bed. A month had passed, and I still hadn’t called Joey. I meant to; I was just busy with life.


Summer hit hard and hot. Temperatures soared, and so did the injuries coming into the ER. We were shorthanded, so I volunteered to work a double. It was the last hour of my shift when paramedics wheeled in a motorcyclist hit by a drunk driver. The man, in his mid-thirties, had sustained massive trauma and lost a lot of blood. I knew the man on the table was Joey; I couldn’t let that stop me from doing my job. We hurried to stabilize him, but he went into cardiac arrest. A code team rushed in to resuscitate him. They revived him and expedited him to the trauma surgeon.


My shift ended, but I stayed at the hospital all night, I couldn’t leave with Joey still at risk. Minutes crawled by like hours, hours like days. The wait was agonizing. I felt like a caged animal pacing back and forth in the doctor’s lounge. 


If I had called Joey when Mom told me to, this might not have happened. I should have kept in touch with him. I should have told him how much his friendship meant to me. Please God, don’t let him die. I promise… My pager went off—it was the ICU. I sprinted to the elevator. 


The ICU nurse showed me Joey's charts. He was in serious but stable condition. There was nothing I could do but wait. I wasn’t going home until I saw Joey. I went to the surgeon’s locker room, took a shower, and change my clothes. 


I went back to the ICU and sat by Joey’s bed. Exhausted to the point of collapse, the methodical beeps of the machines lulled me to sleep. Dreams evaded me, and for that I was thankful. 


“Sam, Sam, is that you?” I heard a faint voice coming from the bed next to me.


I bolted out of the chair. “Joey,” I said, tears streaming down my face, “it’s me, Sam.”


“Sam, where am I? What happened?” Joey mumbled, disoriented from his ordeal.


“You were in an accident, you’re in the ICU.” 


“I don’t remember, were you there?”


“No, not until you got to the hospital,” I said, “I treated you in the ER.”


“Sam, you remember when we were little?”


“Sure I do. How could I forget?”


“Remember when you wore that stupid cape?” Joey said.


“Yeah, and you made fun of me,” I quipped back.


“Well, superheroes don’t wear capes, but they can be girls,” he said, squeezing my hand.


“You're still groggy, you need to rest,” I said, “doctor’s orders.”


“Sam, some superheroes wear masks,” he said, “and you are my superhero.”

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

26 comments

Adah M.m
19:43 Jul 10, 2020

Beautifully written. Not all superhero wear capes

Reply

Jan H
21:32 Jul 10, 2020

Thank you, Adah. I appreciate the comments.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Greg Gillis
20:04 Jul 06, 2020

Beautiful story. Oddly enough, that was the approach that I began to take with my story, but I thought it would be overdone considering the pandemic, so I went with the scientist instead. Well written and intriguing story.

Reply

Jan H
20:46 Jul 06, 2020

Thank you for your comment. Glad you liked the story. I loved your take on the prompt. The log/ journal of the scientist was great.

Reply

Greg Gillis
22:22 Jul 07, 2020

Thank you

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Charles Stucker
19:08 Jul 05, 2020

Very nice transition form the 'origin tale' to the point where Joey calls her a superhero.

Reply

Jan H
19:35 Jul 05, 2020

Thank you, I appreciate your comment.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Corey Melin
20:42 Jul 04, 2020

Enjoyed it for it's another example of the heroes out there. No need to put on capes and masks. Right in front of us.

Reply

Jan H
21:07 Jul 04, 2020

Thank you for your comment. True, extraordinary things get accomplished every day by ordinary people. Unsung heroes all around us.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Anna Chidiac
14:59 Jul 04, 2020

Loved the way you captured the enthusiasm of youth, and then contrasted it with the real-life heroes of the adult world. Great story. :)

Reply

Jan H
15:16 Jul 04, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment! I'm glad you liked the story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Nandan Prasad
03:52 Jul 04, 2020

Great story! Very sweet and heartwarming and unique interpretation of the prompt. Also, would you mind checking out my new story if it’s not too much trouble? Thanks and good luck!

Reply

Jan H
12:16 Jul 04, 2020

Thanks for the comment Nandan! I'd be happy to check out your story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
22:05 Jul 03, 2020

This was so sweet! I did notice a couple places where you had "your" instead of "you're (you are)" but that's just a minor typo. I would love a sequel story for Sam and Joey

Reply

Jan H
23:07 Jul 03, 2020

Thank you so much for the comment! I appreciate you pointing out the typos. I think I fixed all of them. I really need to quit rushing.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
00:14 Jul 21, 2020

Jan, I loved your story!! At first, when the characters were kids, I thought it would be about their friendship at that age, but I liked that you showed the years going by, and in the end she was there for him. I have to admit the end clutched at my heart. It was so sweet the ending line when he said he considered her his superhero. Absolutely beautiful🧡🌼🌺

Reply

Jan H
01:04 Jul 21, 2020

Ah, thank you so much for such a nice comment. I'm glad you liked the story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Aidrielle R.
09:04 Jul 10, 2020

aww this was so cute!! i really like your interpretation of the prompt, i thought it was really creative <3 i also just always love reading stories about best friends haha. i think my only note is that sometimes you "tell" events and feelings rather than "show" them. i can understand that this must be done for brevity's sake, but i think some parts could have been expanded a little so as not to feel so rushed! that's just my opinion though! still, i really enjoyed reading this. good job!! <3

Reply

Jan H
12:35 Jul 10, 2020

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your comments and feedback. I agree that it was a little rushed. I'm working on the "show" don't "tell", but I catch myself getting hurried and wanting to just tell the story. I appreciate you reading the story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Anika Goyal
22:36 Jul 09, 2020

Awesome story Pls read my story also and if you like it pls hit the thumbs up button and also comment https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/48/submissions/22683/

Reply

Show 0 replies
A O
19:16 Jul 06, 2020

I loved this, Jan. It was very touching and engaging all the way through.

Reply

Jan H
20:49 Jul 06, 2020

Thank you so much! I appreciate you reading the story and commenting. Glad you liked it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Leah Quire
02:09 Jul 06, 2020

Hi Jan, This is a well-written, beautiful story with a very sweet ending. It makes me wish this was a book instead of a short story. Beginning the tale with the protagonist as a child gave us a glimpse into the motivation behind her choice to be an ER doctor. It also shows that she never gave up on her dream of saving people, even though it took form in a more subtle way. I like the introduction of the mother. It felt natural, authentic and unforced. She appears again, also in a natural way, making her feel like a real character aff...

Reply

Jan H
02:32 Jul 06, 2020

Leah, thank you so much. You just made my entire day. I question myself every time I write. Self-doubt is one of my biggest obstacles. I appreciate that you took the time to read the story and give feedback.

Reply

Leah Quire
02:47 Jul 06, 2020

Self-doubt keeps us humble. Humility leads to wisdom. Wisdom tells stories that reach the heart and teach the truth. Treasure your creative self-doubt.

Reply

Jan H
02:56 Jul 06, 2020

Thank you for that.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply