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Up In The Sky
by afrai

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People only imagine they know what it's like to be saved by Superman.

In reality, it's much more. Not much more of specific anything. Just more.

Superman comes to you when you're in the worst place you've ever been in. You're convinced you're going to die; you're just realising that this is it, this is the last song, the final footnote, the end. Death is tapping impatiently at the door, and you can't see an escape anywhere. You're shitting yourself.

And then you look up and you see, not the grim spectre of Death, but blue and red and yellow. You see a face that looks like it can launch ships, move mountains, win beauty competitions, support a family, bake a loaf of bread. And it's not smiling, because Superman doesn't smile when he lifts people out of the abyss. It's grave, focused, intent: the face of a man who's doing his job, and doing it well.

"It's all right," Superman says, comforting, "you're safe now."

You know he knows what the hell he's talking about. You know because you've heard the stories, you've seen the news, and most importantly, his arms are around you right now: arms that feel like they could scoop a nation out of economic disaster, arms that could hold off a hurricane, arms that could cradle and soothe a baby. And his knowledge, his utter certainty that you're safe, is in those arms; it's in every muscle in that amazing body; and you, with your modern skepticism and your media-granted disillusion -- you, who have never known what it is to be safe, because you've never been in danger -- you believe.

And he sets you down, where humans crowd around you with medicine and blankets and concern, and he flies away again. And you sprawl there, alive, trembling, averted death pulsing through every blood vessel in your body, and you watch the sky until you can't see him anymore, and you keep watching anyway because you know he's there, out there doing it. Saving people. He does this every day.

It doesn't matter if he's made mistakes. It doesn't matter if every day he goes home to wherever it is that Superman hangs out in the evenings and fucks sheep. Superman saved you. He gave you hope. You know because you've seen what you feel in the eyes of other people he's saved -- that stunned look, like everything good they believed in has actually come true.

And you move on; you go on with your life as usual, but there's always a warmth clenched under your ribs now, because God might not exist, but Superman once gave a shit about you. For one moment, somebody cared enough to save your fucking life, and that's always going to be with you now -- that safety, and that fear.

People who have been saved by Superman learn to look at the sky a lot, and so do you. You learn to give thanks. You learn to hope.

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