My ears were still ringing with the sounds of angry words, slamming doors and I was so obsessively reciting my own self-loathing mantras that I momentarily confused the black sedan pulling away from the curb, thinking in my numb anger, that it was the bus (missed again!) pulling away without me. I started to run, and then awkwardly stopped almost immediately when I realized my stupid mistake, but not before twisting my ankle painfully and falling to the ground in a heap. I just lay there, squeezing my eyes shut against the pain, knowing I looked like an idiot and for the moment not caring.
“You missed him again! You always miss him. He was just here!””
I opened my eyes furiously. He was there, standing right above me, reproving me with his eyes, judging me. I sat up quickly and he backed away from me, reproof now mixed with fear. I wanted to shake him, to make him realize how unbearably stupid he was right now.
“I don’t care! Don’t you understand? I don’t care. There is no Batman, there is no one to rescue you. You either make it or you don’t. You take care of yourself or you don’t. No one does it for you and you don’t get any second chances either. You’ve never met Batman. Grow up.”
His eyes narrowed and I thought he was going to cry. Perhaps if he had it would have changed something, maybe I would have stopped, but instead he surprised me yelling, matching my anger fire for fire. Yelling with that deep throated gutter yell edged with rage usually only a child can manage.
“There is too a Batman. He was here!”
“What, he flies in here in his cape and mask, day after day and no one sees him but you? Face it kid, it’s time to go to school and grow up.”
I got painfully to my feet, testing my ankle which held, wondering how I got here. He backed away again, and I began to regret what I saw in his face.
“He doesn’t fly, and he doesn’t come out here in his mask and cape. He comes as Bwuce Wayne, but I know he’s Batman. You’re stupid.”
“Yeah, well maybe I am, but it’s believing in things like Batman that got me here. Don’t you be stupid. There is no Batman.”
“I’m NOT STUPID.” He seemed to yell this unbelievably loud and then he did collapse into tears. “I don’t like you.”
As he fled, I sat down on the bench, wondering what had just happened and who I had become. The bus came and went and still I sat. Eventually I slowly rose, turned and walked back to the place I once called home.