It was a humid, rainy Sunday. There were places to go, people to see. WonderMess with her Girl Scounts. BeautyQueen with her favorite babysitter. And SuperWoman, with TalkMonster and his compadre, at the movies to see one of those action-packed thriller-type pieces, Mission Impossible.
A movie like this is not SuperWoman’s top choice. She likes to see those little indie flicks, sometimes with a dash of romance, a woman finding her way, people dancing at midnight in their pajamas. But on this Sunday, audience was the priority, and she had two eleven-year-olds to entertain. Despite its PG-13 rating, SuperWoman assumed her male sidekicks could handle a bunch of cool stunts a’la James Bond or The Bourne Ultimatum or Spiderman, where men leap from one building to another, and stuff like that.
SuperWoman doesn’t mind indulging in the battles and victories of other superheroes, although she’d prefer to see more women doing the ass-kicking on the big screen.
TalkMonster had his popcorn behavior all planned, which is the plastic straw method of getting butter all through the kernels, not just on top. And SuperWoman brought Twizzlers (gotta love those Twizzlers), and juice boxes in her large boxy purse. She wasn’t going to pay 18 dollars for candy and a soft drink. They found seats close to the front and sat down, ready for 2+ hours to escape and be inspired.
Here’s the thing about SuperWoman, though. As you may have already noticed, she’s not the type of superhero who believes in blood and gore. She’s more like a karate sensei, willing to battle only when battle finds her. And the kinds of battles that find her are more the existential kind, in which she stares down self-doubt or sluggishness or the temptation to eat an entire lemon cake. So when the men on screen started shooting their guns, she began to grit her teeth. She looked frequently to her compadres to debate whether this outing was actually a good idea.
“How is it going, guys? This is kind of violent. Are you okay?” she whispered. The boys nodded, as boys do. She looked around the movie theater, where there were other parents, other boys the same age. Were they okay with this, too?
She sat back in her seat. She’d give the movie a couple more minutes, see if it got any better.
But there were more guns, a woman being held at knife-point. Not better. Things were intense, and they’d only been there 15 minutes.
Another crash happened on screen. People were being killed. This was not something SuperWoman took lightly. She knew what happened to impressionable young minds when they saw violence, and she did not condone it.
The popcorn was mostly gone, anyway.
“Okay, boys,” she said. “We’re leaving. This is too much.”
The boys didn’t argue. They are a sensitive set, prone to peace and calm. They’d spent the earlier part of that Sunday morning in the silent worship of a Quaker meeting, after all.
The next conquest? Figuring out to do for two hours before she had to pick up WonderMess and BeautyQueen. The boys had already eaten, and they didn’t want dessert. (SuperWoman could have gone for dessert, a brownie sundae perhaps. Or a Tres Leches cake. Those were good.) The boys didn’t want to go to the bookstore, either, because books reminded them too much of school. So as rain dripped on their foreheads, SuperWoman took action. They’d paint pottery. That store wasn’t next to the movie theater for nothing. How many other people had spent a day watching a bad movie and then painting quietly in a studio? Probably plenty.
“Alright, move it, pick some pottery, here we go.”
She ushered the boys in. One picked a mug, the other a Lego-box-thing. SuperWoman let them fill their palates with warm shades of red and gray, and she got a latte next door at the coffee shop and a couple of cookies to share. The boys set to work, talking, nodding their heads to soft music by bands like The Head and the Heart and The Lumineers as they worked.
What a better way to spend an afternoon.
For SuperWoman believes in peace. And so do these boys.