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      Joe's little superman


My phone rang on Monday, I immediately recognized the voice on the other end, but he still asked if I remembered him.  I asked how his recovery was going and he said he was alive and thankful, and asked if I would come visit.  I asked if there was anything he wanted or needed and he said pizza from our favorite shop, so it was set for the next day.  on my way to get the pizza I thought about me and Joe.  when I met him I was just coming out of a really bad relationship so the only thing i could offer was friendship. It became a habit when I made dinner to make an extra plate and take next door.  My kids soon adored him, he started calling me superman for two reasons one I wear a long  black leather duster and like other single moms I was pretty frazzled by 9pm but still had to keep going. I am mom and dad one of my kids is slow the other is gifted, I work full time, help take care of my parents, I refuse to accept labels for my kids so I don't receive any ssi and because I make min wage I don't get help from the state.  we survive the best we can.  Joe is very wealthy, but he was always in a hurry.  his kids are grown and have their own lives.  He could never understand how I lived I never told my kids I didn't have time for them,  my life has always been centered around my kids, I still don't have a social life, the only time I don't have my kids is when I'm at work and they're in school, which I am blessed to have a straight daytime job.  About three years ago Joe wanted to start something, but was struggling with the big age gap between us, so nothing ever happened.  last year Joe had a major stroke that caused severe bleeding in his brain, multiple surgeries have left parts of his brain dead and many missing memories. when the door opened I was greeted with a big smile from one of his buddies I had only met a few times, he announced hey Joe it's superman and she brought your favorite pizza, he took the pizza from my hands, and took my cape, as my knees went weak, there sat my friend in a wheelchair.  I went over to give him a hug and he held me for the longest time, we got set up for lunch as as we sat there he chatted about the hospitals he has been in and the care he got while there, I studied him as I ate, his head is mis shapen from the multiple surgeries, his face is sunken in , he only has use of one side, his speech is very slow and he mixes his words up alot, the familiar look was replaced by a blank stare.  I see the stare everyday at work, I have worked with mentally challenged people since college  my love for psychology grows everyday.  He excused himself to the bathroom as I cleaned up the table, Tom came in and said that he was at his highest functioning level, and that he might not ever get all his memory back.  Tom said I was one of his most vivid memories and has been asking about me since he learned how to talk again. I gave a weak smile and said of course I'm his little superman. Joe came out of the bathroom and headed for his room he asked if I would come sit by his bed and talk, so I pulled a chair over close.    He stared at me for a few moments and I could see the light behind his eyes and I got a small glance at the old Joe.  He reached for my hand and said you know I could never understand how you live but now i do, he said every morning i wake up and thank god I'm alive, he said you have lived by the seat of your pants every day, you don't wait for tomorrow cause it might not come and I called you foolish for those thoughts, because I knew tomorrow would come.  he squeezed my hand and gave me a crooked smile he said superman your not foolish at all. tears started to run down my face, he said you used to wish that people would just understand the way you live I do.  I laid my head down on his chest  I said but I wish you didn't  have to lose so much just to see my foolish ways..  he dried my tears and said don't ever wait for tomorrow, live today like it's your last, you  tried to explain the reasons you live this way but I couldn't hear you, I promise to listen when you talk from now on.  we stayed like that till my phone rang calling me back to reality  I got up and put my cape on, stopped in the doorway  I promised to stop in Friday and I said this time I'm picking what we eat for lunch and it's Mcdonalds, he said we can go out in the yard and I will eat grass with you I don't care.    I said careful Joe I might just make you do that. 


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