|by Samuel Hawkins
THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND!
Clark Kent lay in bed, even though it was well past 4:30. He’d never done that before. But he’d never felt like this before either. There seemed to be a massive weight perched just below his sternum. It made breathing difficult, even though he didn’t really need to breath. Even worse, he would occasionally experience a wave-like sensation sweeping through his body. The wave felt like icewater, yet, paradoxically, left him feverishly warm. Mostly, he just sighed a lot and lay there.
And thought of Lana.
She’d been gone three days now. Three incredibly long days. He’d floated in the trees outside her home early Thursday morning as she and her mother left for the airport and the plane to Mexico. While eating breakfast, he’d watched her plane take off, and as he restocked the shelves in the store that afternoon, he’d watched it touch down on a Mexican runway. While making a delivery to Mrs. Parker, he’d watched, and smiled, as Lana hugged the father she hadn’t seen in a month, and while eating Ma’s chicken pot pie for supper, he’d watched Lana eat rice and beans beside a campfire.
And when he got up from bed and silently snuck out to sit under their apple tree, he watched Lana look, up in the sky, and somehow he knew at what she was looking. And what she was feeling.
It made him feel like shouting at the top of his lungs. It made him feel like flying around the world 20 times. It made him feel like chasing a comet.
It also made him feel like he was going to die. He couldn’t believe how much he missed her. Who’d have thought three weeks could seem like such an eternity.
He hadn’t realized how noticeable his suffering had become until Pa walked into the bedroom that Sunday morning. "Morning Clark," he said.
"Morning Dad," he replied, even though it hurt to speak.
Jonathan Kent sat down on the edge of Clark’s bed, and placed his callused hand on his son’s perfectly-formed brow. "Hmm," Pa said, "you don’t have a fever. Course, that shouldn’t be a surprise. You never have. Still, it’s obvious that something’s wrong. Clark Kent never laid in bed until 7:30 in his life. Not to mention all that moping you’ve been doing." Clark just shrugged. He wanted to unburden himself, but the blush of first love is something you don’t talk about, not even with a parent with whom you can share anything. Well, almost anything.
"I suppose I know what’s bothering you."
Clark’s face turned red as he shrugged again. He loved his Pa fiercely, but he did not want to be having this conversation. Not about Lana.
"I suppose it’s time," Jonathan said. And then, he made a mistake. He didn’t make many of them when it came to Clark. Jonathan and Martha Kent shared the most important responsibility on the planet. Raising this space child was an almost impossible task, yet they did it almost flawlessly. Whether born to the job, guided by some unseen hand, or just plain lucky, they almost never made mistakes of judgment in mentoring this demi-god. But they made one here. "Are you sure you’re ready?"
Clark was confused. "What do you mean?"
Jonathan placed his hand on the shoulder of the boy who’d dropped into his life eleven challenging and wonderful years earlier. "Son, my father used to say that when a horse has got to run, you got to let him. We’ve been holding you back from this. We weren’t sure that you were ready, and after all, it’s not like there aren’t any rule books or time tables on when to do this. All we can go by is what our instincts and judgment tells us. And ours tells us that you’re ready."
Clark looked to the doorway where his mother stood. In her arms were a bright blue and red ... it was his, he suddenly realized. The costume. His costume!
He was immediately standing in front of her. Her smile was both warm and sad as she handed the suit to her star child. No one spoke as Clark held and caressed the fabric. Like him, it was alien, and like him, it had been molded by loving hands. Look at it, Clark thought. Look at the cape. Look at that symbol. "It’s perfect," Clark whispered with reverence. Then he looked up, kissed his mother, zipped over to hug his father, and unable to hold back any longer, donned the costume that would someday be recognized across a thousand worlds.
And stood before them, a titan in red, yellow, and blue. A 13-year-old boy able to rule, destroy, or save the world. Krypton’s last and greatest gift to the universe.