“This can’t be happening; this was not supposed to happen this way,” Jane Douglas frantically whispered to herself. Then she closed her eyes and tried to tune out all the frantic prayers and screams all around her, but she couldn’t do it, even when she put her hands over her ears to try and drown them out. Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling, but what was the point? They were all going to die.
Prayers did not come easily for Jane, after her husband had died and her family wondered what would become of her, and now she had to wonder again why she had forsaken her beliefs, all because of one man ... Superman.
She couldn’t help but think of him, the costumed savior in the sky, the one man who had miraculously changed the world, the one man who had changed the way everyone lived their lives, and the one man that made them believe that he would always be there for them. And no matter what calamity would befall them, he would be there, but Jane had found out the hard way how wrong everyone was to believe in him.
Jane knew she shouldn’t be so hard on him or herself, but she couldn’t seem to stop and she knew he couldn’t be everywhere at once, but the devastated part of her heart refused to believe that he could not have saved her husband from his fate. Just thinking about her late husband caused her heart to constrict and tears to fall but then she realized that she would be with him soon, they would be together forever, so she closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable impact and her death.
But today was not her day to die, nor anyone else on the plane. Seconds, moments, or minutes went by, Jane wasn’t sure, then the plane was jolted forward to a complete stop as if it had actually hit the ground on impact, but instead of bursting into flames and killing them all, the plane was slowly dropped to the ground and everyone sat still eyes-wide not believing what had just happened, but it appeared to be true.
They had been saved by Superman; that was the only explanation. Then the front exit door was suddenly lifted and pulled away, and there he was standing before a stunned audience as he spoke to them.
“Is everyone alright?” His voice boomed carrying to the back of the plane, startling everyone, but no one said a word, too shocked to respond. “Please do not leave your seats; the EMTs will be here in a few moments. Everyone, please stay calm, you’re safe now.”
Jane had never seen him up close like this before; he was a stunning vision to her eyes, tall and built like a towering oak tree, beautiful blue eyes, his hair appeared immaculate and she couldn’t help noticing the gray hairs at his temple, so miraculously he did age she realized, but she knew he had been on this planet for hundreds and hundreds of years. It was an astonishing and unbelievable thought.
Her thoughts wandered then as the crowd began to come out of its stunned awareness of him actually being there and saving them as outcries of ‘thank you’ and ‘bless you’ began pouring out of the passengers. Heartfelt tears of relief and happiness were heard all around, but Jane was not in the mood to thank him, not this time. She knew it was irrational thinking on her part, but ever since the moment she realized she was going to die, she had resigned herself to that fact, however, there he was changing everyone’s lives and for what, so he could feel better about himself? Just stop it, Jane! You’re alive, be happy about it and move on. No. I can’t be happy about it. My Bill is dead and all because he had better things to do than save his life and everyone else on that plane. Too little too late!
Out of the corner of his eye, Superman caught Jane’s reaction to him and frowned not understanding what she was feeling. He thought she would be thrilled to be alive and well, but she was staring at him with such hatred, he was taken aback and turned to her then. She was shaking and shooting sparks of hate from her eyes. “Are you alright, Miss?”
“Am I alright!?” She shrieked at him, her eyes were tearing up, her heart raced, and her palms were sweaty. Jane was in shock.
Clark came a little closer hoping not to scare her. “Please miss, stay calm, you’re fine now; the plane is on the ground.”
“Stay away from me, you freak!” She shrieked at him again. Jane was being irrational, but she couldn’t seem to stop. Something was very wrong.
Clark also realized she was in shock and needed medical attention. “Let me help you; I won’t hurt you.”
The EMTs arrived and tried to calm her down, but she was still shrieking and being combative to Superman and everyone else around her. “Don’t trust him, please if you know what’s good for you, don’t trust him!” Jane continued to shriek at Clark and the still stunned passengers.
Unbeknownst to Clark or the other passengers, someone captured the entire scene on a video with a camera phone; it went viral just a few hours later.
Clark stared at her wide-eyed and wondered what had brought on this verbal attack on Superman. He didn’t want to feel anything by her hateful words, but of course, after so many years of being here on Earth, the woman’s words tore through his soul reminding him again how different he was from everyone else, but thinking about it now, it had to be more than that, more than just him being different, but what could it be?
Once Jane was restrained and carefully removed from the plane, he turned back to the passengers who were quietly watching him waiting to see what he would do or say next. Clark didn’t know what to say. He cleared his throat.
“Everyone, please just take your time leaving the plane, and let the EMTs know if you’re hurt or feel faint or ... just.” Clark was loosing it, but more EMTs arrived then and Clark peered through the walls of the plane and the ambulance, saw the woman on a stretcher, then caught the name on the side and what hospital she was going to be taken. He had made up his mind right then and there to see her again; he had to.
Then he turned to leave without looking back, too upset to say anything more. As he flew higher into the sky, he vaguely heard the passengers crying ‘thank you, thank you, Superman.’ He closed his eyes as those words flowed through him calming him somewhat with the relief that he had been able to save them all.
Clark was high in the sky feeling the warmth of the sun as it fueled him, made him stronger as several emergencies came into his hearing. He took care of those without too much trouble, a few car crashes, an overturned eighteen-wheeler, an explosion or two, a fire, just a typical day for him, except for seeing his dead wife alive again after nearly one thousand years, and being called a ‘freak’ for saving two hundred lives. He closed his eyes and sighed to himself. He needed and wanted to go to the hospital to see her and so he did just that several hours later.
Still in the suit, stunning the nurses, doctors and patients, he approached the emergency room, but he also noticed there were a few other passengers there from the downed plane who were waiting to be seen. He tried to smile but his thoughts would not leave the distraught young woman he had come to see. As he inquired about her, the nurse did remember her and that she was now in a room sedated and resting. Her name was Jane Douglas and she would probably be released tomorrow.
Superman thanked the nurse who was very forthcoming about Jane so he went to visit her just to talk and to make sure he hadn’t done something to someone she cared about. The thought had crossed his mind several times; that was the only thing that made any sense. He couldn’t save everyone, he knew that, had resigned himself to that fact centuries ago, but it still consumed him with guilt and remorse when it happened. He couldn’t help it; it was a bi-product of his job, but it still hurt nonetheless.
Jane was alone in her hospital room curled up in a ball sobbing her eyes out. She had just awakened from a dream and in her dream, she was with her husband on a sandy beach, hand in hand deliriously happy and feeling more content than she had ever felt in her life. She wiped at her eyes with a tissue, but then her mind returned to a few hours ago on the plane and the things she had said and she tried not to think about it, but she felt terrible about all of it. He was a miracle among men on this planet, she had no right to say those things to him, and she felt awful about it.
“Miss Douglas, am I disturbing you?” Clark whispered as he slowly opened the door and tried to smile.
Jane stiffened at the sound of ‘his’ voice and slowly turned her head and gasped at the sight before her. He was there in her room asking to come in.
What should I do?