For Children

Charlotte Sleeper

Viewing a Superhero

5th & 6th Grade Prose Winner

I wouldn’t want to be a superhero. Sure, it might be pretty exciting, being able to help so
many people. In all truth however, who knows how the world might receive you? This is how I
live my life. Worried about what the world sees in me, and how it will react. At least, that is how
I felt until just yesterday. It was late afternoon and my mother and I were at the grocery store,
shopping for New Years. On a normal, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary trip. I was wearing a navy
blue good-for-blending-in sweater. My hair was tied in its usual tight bun. I wasn’t wearing a
shiny outfit or any accessories that would make me more noticable. I knew exactly what to get
and where to get it from the seemingly endless colorful shelves, as I had many times before.
Though I kept my eyes down all the while, we managed to complete our shopping fairly quickly.
Making our way to the bustling checkout line, I was careful not to meet anyone’s eyes. As we
edged closer to the cashier, people seemed to press in all around us, on all sides of us. Baskets
and carts filled to the brim wobbled and swayed in front of my downturned eyes. All of the
sudden, small, high squeal erupted from the front of the line. A small child was toddling about on
the floor, with a glass jar clasped in one of his hands. No one else had noticed yet, and I certainly
wasn’t going to be the one to cause a fuss. Just as the thought crossed my mind, a dull crack
rippled through the crowd. Followed by a THUD. In her haste to pick up the glass that the child
had broken, his mother had dropped the contents of her cart into the glass as well. A chorus of
grumbling erupted from the crowd. Talk about not wanting a fuss! People began to push past the
troubled woman, exchanging glances as they did so. The cashier had brought out a broom for the
woman to sweep up the contents of her cart with. As she did so, her child began to cry. What a
day this had become. DAY!?!? By now, as we inched toward the front of the line a rumbling
voice announced over the loudspeaker that “This store will be closing in 20 minutes.” By then
we were almost at the front of the line, right next to the woman and her squirming child. She was
just about done cleaning up, but she would never be able to get replacements for all of her
groceries in time. Finally my mother was loading our goods onto the conveyor belt. My eyes met
the young child’s again. I had to do something! For one of the first times in my life I wished I
could have a super power. I wished I could time travel and be my super-self, stop the toddler
from shattering the glass. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have any super powers. I was just regular,
plain-old, non-super, part-of-the-crowd me. Maybe though, just maybe, I could possibly help this
family. Anxiously smoothing my hair, I asked my mom if I could be right back. Heart thumping,
I walked over to the woman and quietly asked if there was anything that I could do for her.
Embarrassed to be caught in such a situation, she handed me a shopping list and murmured to the
floor, “I don’t quite know what to do myself.” I nodded, swallowing slowly, and then was off,
running down the aisles as if my life depended on it. I knew exactly where to find everything on
the list. I sprinted, sprinted, dashing down the aisles. This was my moment, nobody was
watching. It was as if I were a superhero. Then another announcement came over the
loudspeakers. “This store is now closing. Please check out and quickly exit.” I hadn’t done it.
There were three more items on the list. 13. Apples 14. Pudding 15. Sparkling Water. My anxious
mind drew a blank. I was going to fail the poor family. What would the world think of me now?
Should I even bring back the items I had collected to the women? Should I face the staring eyes
of the cashier and a few other lingering customers? I heard the toddler’s squeal again as the
woman cleaned up the mess, and my mother saying “Alright, honey, we’re all rung up.” My legs
quivering, I made my way back to them. I managed to croak, “I didn’t get everything, ma’am”
Even though my brain screamed “You’re embarrassing yourself,” I carefully unloaded what I had
managed to grab. The woman had just finished cleaning up the mess. The relief on her face
shone brilliantly. “Thank you,” she breathed, as the cashier hastily rung up the goods. I smiled
back at her and my mom and I left the store hand-in-hand. Maybe you don’t need to have special
powers, or be perfect to be a superhero after all. Maybe we all just need to show our inner super
a little more.