Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Clark Kent

I studied in a catholic school. As such we would have fridays when the teachers and nuns go off to a one-hour, half day or even one day retreat of prayer and communion depending on the time of day or which saint's canonization was to be celebrated.

I was never nominated before until one day, together with a fellow classmate, I was asked to mind a roomful of kindergarden kids for two hours or so. I was in grade six; I was age ten.

And so it went, the horrors of child rearing, in which were were given a glimpse of the martyrdom of motherhood. Exhausting. The fidgety were frisky, the drama queens were emoting, the action heroes went leaping amongst tables and chairs with the tarzans.

Except for this little boy who was doing his darnedest to be good. Sat on the chair: behaved when told, crayon-scrawled when papered, and gave me far too many glances of where-is-she? and am-i-doing-it-right?

This boy gave the impression of a young Clark Kent. Quite handsome, actually. Headful of black hair swept at the forehead, quite tall or, possibly, he just stood erect unlike his helplessly springy compatriots. His was quiet dignity amidst the exploding enthusiasm all around. And I surprised myself because he moved precisely - I half expected him to fumble and bump into things. He also had an innate sense to lead, he stood in front of the line when we finally had to corral the group to wash hands for snacktime.

Inevitably, our duty was done and my friend and I thankfully welcomed the end of our misadventure. As I was about to leave, Clark Kent ran up to me and frantically tugged my uniform skirt.

What's the matter? I said, kneeling to him at eye level. His face was just too serious.

I love you. He said.

I laughed and hugged him and said goodbye. I never saw him again.

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