I'm driving to work on the late side, eightish rather than sevenish. The sweet thing about leaving late is that all up and down Stark Street children and parents are walking to school together, and kids stand sentinel with their flags at the crosswalks.
Out through my passenger side, a mom brings up the rear in a line of three. In front, running ahead in a burst of kid energy, is Superman. Red and yellow S insignia on his blue shirt, and red cape flying.
Behind him, probably not old enough for school, is a makeshift Batman with a purple mask that looks homemade, maybe out of paper, and a cape that’s a color somewhere between red and pink. Fuschia. She runs to catch up.
I drive past, using my secret Mxyzptlk fifth dimensional powers to draw just a little of their joy into me for my day at work.
Halfway down the sidewalk: she’s in a cape, too. But it isn’t a cape. It’s a ratty, old gray towel, tied around her neck and hanging down. The woman looks homeless. She doesn't have a bag or a shopping cart. All she seems to have is the cape on her back.
She's bent over, and I'm coming up behind her, so in my glance through the windshield I don't see the look on her face and wonder if she's doubled over in pain or sadness.
But as I pass, I take one more glance. In her hands is a bouquet. Fat, lovely flowers in Superman reds and fuschia pinks.