Heroes grow old.
Midlife crisis. A Midlife pot-belly. The inability to see what lies 20 feet ahead. The unwillingness to see what lies 20 years further on. The dreadful, mundane act of simply existing, everyday , a far cry from the glory days of…god knows when.
Secret identities overwhelmed by the inexorable, unchangeable twin villains- Truth and Time.
Clumps of grey hair. Flecks of dried blood. Old scars. Older limbs.
Hairlines receding, reflexes slowing down…what was once iron, encased in flesh and bone, is now…crumbling red rust, sticking on to a clanking set of rebellious body parts.
All that is left, is the soul. But wasn’t that given up to the city?
Blackened, bruised, stepped on. The soul you so readily gave up as sacrifice, as tribute, as everlasting, undying proof of the protection you provided,has been thrown back at you. Without remorse. Without a moment of thought.
Without a step back, to REMEMBER.
A sneer of conceit. a smirk of disdain.
‘We don’t need heroes anymore‘
The empty husk of what was once your kingdom, your city, stares back at you. Look, they do not need you any more.
Look, they live on, in spite of you.
Look, long ago have they forgotten you.
What use now of waking up every dreary morning and pulling on that costume, limp and fraying at the edges, covered with the blood and the grime and the dust of a thousand days and nights of prowling through alleys or flying above skyscrapers, over the paunch of a middle-aged sedentary employee? What use now of wondering, before you lie down to the wretched sleep of those who know how life can be so…so much worse than the worst nightmare , if the heart of a hero still beats beneath the chest of an overweight has-been?
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
–‘Ulysses’, Alfred, Lord Tennyson