Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | September 20, 2006

Chelsea and the encyclopedia of imaginary heroes

It was high noon in Smallville. I was in school, desperately trying to fan away budding sweat beads on my forehead and the sleep that was slowly forming in my brain. Beside me sat Faye. She was bored out of her mind again, trying to fill the spaces in her time by tapping her desk to the rhythm of our teacher’s monotonous speaking. Behind me sat Celeena. As usual, she was seated in a way that reminded me of a statue of the Blessed Mother. She was as beautiful as that statue. She had a porcelainish glow, just like that statue. Her haired slowed straight, just like the statue. Her smile was as peaceful as that of the statue. Mostly, she resembled the statue because she sat lifeless. She didn’t budge. Didn’t speak. In the months that I had come to know her, she had always been that way. I don’t think I remember seeing her move at all. I wondered how she even got home. How she came to school. It seemed as if when they first made these classrooms they had already nailed her to this particular chair.

I was close to losing every last drop of sense in me because of the heat when somebody shouted from behind me: “Kuya!” I turned around. It was Chelsea. Chelsea, the little girl. Strange thing about Chelsea, every time I bump into this little girl, there is a gnawing familiarity that haunts me that I cannot figure out. It always seems as if there are hands digging through the graveyard of fallen memories in my mind, looking for some faded photograph with edges yellowed by the passage of time. There is a face perhaps in the picture? A face from a memory I cannot attach a name to? A face, perhaps, that once cried out for the help that I could not give. Was that the familiarity surrounding Chelsea? Did she need help, too? Help that I do not know how to give because she is trapped in a danger that I do no know? Or is it me who needs help? Then again, superheroes don’t need help, do they? That’s why they’re called super heroes. Truth be told, I had always thought of that when I was a kid discovering his newfound powers.  Maybe nobody tried to help me because they had a sense of me being Superman. What these same people do not know is that I bleed too. But I bleed in places that no one sees. In my heart. In my soul. I ask for help, too. It’s just that nobody hears me.  That’s why I crafted an encyclopedia when I was young. I called it the Encyclopedia of Imaginary Heroes. It was filled with super heroes I created so that one day they may save me too. Super heroes who, one day, I’ll introduce to you. I turned to look at Chelsea again. And then it hit me. And then I understood why she roused memories that had long passed away. I saw it in her eyes. I saw it in her smile.  She had the eyes of one who had sought my help not too long ago. She had the smile that once faded when I couldn’t help her out.  I suddenly recognized the face in the faded photograph. And again, I whisepered an old plea for understanding. If you had known how, at that time, I was all torn up inside trying to fight a nightmare that nearly figured out a way to kill me, maybe your smile would have stayed alive until now. I opened my bag. My old encyclopedia was there. If ever Chelsea’s eyes come alive with a plea for help again, I will set free my imaginary heroes and they, together with Superman, will offer their services to her.  Once upon a time, a smile faded because I had no way of keeping it alive. That’s not going to happen ever again.  This is my vow. Because someone asked me for a translation 


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